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DTE reaches deal to cut air pollution in southeast Michigan

May 14, 2020 GMT

DETROIT (AP) — DTE Energy will reduce air pollution from five coal-fired power plants in southeast Michigan under a proposed settlement of a 10-year-old lawsuit filed by the federal government, officials said Thursday.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said the agreement also requires the company to pay a $1.8 million civil penalty and fund a $5.5 million project to replace older school or city buses with newer, cleaner models.

“This settlement will improve air quality in southeast Michigan to help protect people’s health and the environment,” said Kurt Thiede, chief of EPA’s regional office in Chicago.

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The agency’s 2010 lawsuit accused DTE of violating the Clean Air Act in the area with emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide. The pollutants can harm human health and contribute to acid rain, smog and haze.

The company will install pollution controls or convert to natural gas all coal-fired units at its Belle River, River Rouge, St. Clair and Trenton Channel generating stations. It also must meet emission limits for sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide at its Monroe Generation Station.

When all terms of the deal are carried out, annual emissions of the two pollutants at DTE facilities in southeastern Michigan will be about 138,000 tons lower than in 2010, EPA said.

The proposed settlement is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval.