Lansing to hold public hearing on coal ash disposal

Proposed REO Town Plant

The City of Lansing’s Committee on Public Safety is holding a public meeting tonight (Wednesday July 21) at 6:30 p.m. to discuss the ongoing coal ash clean-up on the city’s northwest side. Chair of the Committee Carol Wood has invited officials from the Board and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

The Board of Water and Light is removing approximately 438,00 cubic yards of coal ash from a disposal site that was used from about 1964-1978. Also under discussion could be the recent proposed rules of the federal Environmental Protection Agency which for the first time would regulate the disposal and storage of coal ash.

The rules could cover everything from monitoring coal ash sites to what is called “beneficial use” which allows coal ash to be used in agricultural enhancement (soil treatment) and products such as concrete. Board employees confirmed that the public power plant sells coal ash on the secondary market and receives approximately $300,000 a year. Coal ash is considered a proven health risk under certain circumstances.

Lansing Online News has carried a series on blog posts on the issue. This past week the Board announced plans to build a $182 million natural gas electical generating plant in REO Town that would replace the coal burning Moores River station. This would further reduce the Board’s reliance on coal and all the problems associated with its disposal.

The meeting is being held at the Letts Community Center 1220 W. Kalamazoo Street in Lansing.

Bill Castanier has been an award-wining weekly newspaper editor, advertising and public relations executive in his 40 year career. In addition, he has been an executive with a newspaper trade association and founded Michigan’s first technology association, I-TE@M. He writes a weekly newspaper feature on Michigan authors and is on the Board of the Kerrytown BookFest and the Michigan Notable Book Awards. He has the only daily blog on Michigan literature (Mittenlit) and founded Spartanpodcast.com.

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