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      Rogers City coal plant now has another year to build

      The Department of Environmental Quality has extended Wolverine Power's building permit, which was set to expire at the end of 2012. The company will now have an additional year to build the coal plant.

      Wolverine Power announced it's plan to build a coal plant in 2006. They got permission and the zoning plans were finished in 2007, and the formal application was sent to the DEQ in 2008.

      The state then denied the permit and Wolverine Power sued. However, when the Snyder administration took office, the DEQ was told to drop their defense and approve the permit. The 18-month Permit to Install was set to expire on December 29th of this year - but two weeks ago, just six days after Wolverine Power requested it, the DEQ extended the permit for another year. The agency extended the permit without any public notice or opportunity for public content.

      There are now two court cases involved with the coal plant - one against the revised permit itself and one against the DEQ's extension without a public hearing.

      With the permit extension, Wolverine Power now has another year to get the plant started.

      Many in Rogers City have been waiting for the plant to be approved because of the multiple jobs it will provide in the area. Opponents to the coal plant cite stricter coal plant emission limits, rising coal-power costs, cheap natural gas, and a lesser need for electricity as reasons to stop the project. The Michigan Land Use Institute has seen electricity rates rise in the U.P. and Wisconsin with the introduction of coal plants, and caution it may happen here to the four co-ops (Cherryland, Great Lakes, and Presque Isle included) under Wolverine Power.

      In March a determination will be made in Washington regarding changes in air emission standards - as it stands now the design of the coal plant for Rogers City does not meet those standards.