The Sierra Club of Michigan filed a lawsuit today against the City of Holland and the Holland Board of Public Works charging that the city is violating the Clean Air Act. The Sierra Club is seeking enforcement of the Clean Air Act, installation of modern pollution controls, and penalties to hold Holland’s De Young plant responsible for its pollution.
In a lawsuit filed in Federal District Court, the Sierra Club of Michigan charges that the James De Young coal-fired power plant is a threat to public health. The 40-year old plant has been modified several times over the past decade to keep it in operation.
According to the Sierra Club, the modifications have been undertaken without notifying state regulators, without obtaining a new permit, and without installing modern pollution controls. The group says that the plant’s modification has increased emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and fine particulate matter. The Sierra Club uncovered these violations during an investigation into Holland’s plan to double the plant’s capacity. These new plans are accompanied by claims that the expansion will improve air emissions, yet they make no mention of past pollution.
In a press release announcing the lawsuit, Ann Woiwode of the Sierra Club was quoted saying, “Old, dirty coal plants in Michigan like the De Young plant are huge sources of pollutants that contribute to asthma, lung cancer, and other respiratory issues.” “Nationwide, pollution from coal-fired power plants causes over 21,000 hospitalizations,
38,000 heart attacks and 24,000 deaths each year,” added Woiwode.
Over the past year, the Sierra Club of Michigan has organized to stop the expansion of coal power plants in Michigan. The Sierra Club of Michigan has worked to oppose the expansion of Holland’s De Young pant.