Consumers Energy's BC Cobb Electric Generating Complex was added to Michigan's Clean Corporate Citizen (C3) Program today, becoming the 140th member of the voluntary program recognizing environmental stewardship across the state. All I can say is, "you've got to be fucking kidding."
The DEQ wants you to know that "the BC Cobb Plant is located on 300 acres at the mouth of the Muskegon River in west Michigan. The facility has been recognized by the Wildlife Habitat Council for their commitment to environmental stewardship and increasing native biodiversity in the marsh, river delta, field, and woodland areas that surround the generating complex. The site received further recognition by the Michigan Association of Environmental Professionals for closure of an existing 62-acre coal fly ash landfill. The solution included installation of a 70-foot deep clay retaining wall around the perimeter of the landfill and a synthetic cover on top to keep stormwater and ash from migrating into nearby waters of the state. The large open area constructed as a result of the project is being considered for public recreational use. In addition, they designed an ash pond series-flow treatment system which has proven to work well while providing habitat for waterfowl.
The plant burns approximately 1 million tons of blended eastern and low-sulfur western. Active programs are in place to reduce used-oil waste, reduce solvent use, reduce the use of chemical additives in condenser and non-contact cooling water, and to reduce thermal emissions in discharge waters."
To qualify for a Clean Corporate Citizen designation, candidates must adopt a facility-specific environmental management system and active pollution prevention initiatives, and have a consistent record of compliance with applicable environmental requirements. Clean Corporate Citizens are eligible for certain regulatory benefits under the state's environmental programs, including expedited permit approval.
This leaves me feeling uneasy. I don't like the fact that the state is rewarding the coal industry, specifically when it is so obvious that coal plants are the primary contributors to global warming and in light of the mountain top removal programs. Coal power plants consistently poison us with mercury, create acid rain and desecrate large sections of souther forest with mining operations. It's great that CE does nice things for ducks, but what about the land where the coal is coming from? The DEQ may think this is good policy, but I believe this is white-washing of an environmental catastrophe. The federal and state government should be giving companies incentives to stop such activities, not promoting business as usual bullshit.