In the news
Detroit— Michigan ranks 10th in the amount of mercury produced by power plants, according to rankings released Thursday by the advocacy group Environment Michigan.
In 2010, the state's power plants cranked out 2,253 pounds of mercury via airborne emissions. Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri and Indiana make up the top five.
Detroit Edison's (DTE) coal-fired plant in Monroe ranks as the largest producer of airborne mercury emissions — by far — among Michigan's power facilities, according to the group's rankings.
The advocacy group's data show the plant produced 660 pounds of mercury in 2010, the last year for which data is available. That's nearly twice as much as the second-largest producer, DTE's Belle River plant in China Township, which produced 335 pounds of mercury.
Mercury is a natural element that turns to gas form when heated. According to the EPA, long-term exposure can affect "the human nervous system, and harm the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs and immune system."
"Parents in Michigan shouldn't have to worry that their children's bodies are toxic dumping grounds," said Michelle Hesterberg, a field associate with the advocacy group Environment Michigan. The group is pushing for new emissions standards on mercury and other pollutants that could be voted on in Congress as early as next month.
Officials at DTE said the amounts listed by Environment Michigan represent totals that are within their operations' permitted levels.
"All of our plants are in full compliance with current regulations and we plan to comply with future regulations," said John Austerberry, a DTE spokesman.