By MICHAEL GERSTEIN
Capital News Service
LANSING — Holland is looking to reduce its dependency on fossil fuels after years of litigation about a failed multimillion dollar proposal to expand its coal plant. It’s not feasible to meet the city’s energy needs without fossil fuels, said Dan Nally, the business services director for the Holland Board of Public Works. But environmentalists worry about a city council vote looming Nov. 28 that could result in a new natural gas plant for the city. Holland recently approved two contracts with wind farms to meet Michigan’s 2015 deadline for 10 percent clean electrical energy.
Following a 2010 study of air pollution, the Environmental Protection Agency will be taking new steps this December to reinforce national regulations for mercury and carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants. Anyone who has heard of global warming surely knows the dangers of high carbon dioxide emissions to our planet. But the health risks of airborne mercury are not as well understood. “When mercury gets in the atmosphere, it rains or snows, and brings it down into the watershed. Then it runs off into the streams, and from the streams into the rivers and back into the Great Lakes and into the fish,” said Dr. Frank D’Itri, a retired fisheries and wildlife professor at Michigan State University.