Hearing gives residents opportunity to voice support for cleaning up plant

ValleyLogo-webMILWAUKEE – Milwaukee residents will have an important opportunity to voice their support for cleaning up We Energies’ Valley Power Plant this Thursday, Nov. 4, when the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will hold a public hearing about the plant’s draft air pollution permit at its Southeast Region Headquarters.

“The Valley Coal Plant is one of the dirtiest plants in the state, and it operates in the heart of downtown Milwaukee,” said Katie Nekola, attorney at Clean Wisconsin. “This is an important chance for Milwaukee residents to show their support for cleaning up the Valley Plant.”

More than 24,000 people live within a mile of We Energies’ coal plant in the Menomonee Valley. The plant emits high levels of soot, a pollutant that endangers the health of the community by causing more frequent, more severe and more deadly asthma attacks, heart attacks and strokes. The American Lung Association gave Milwaukee an “F” for the number of unhealthy air days in 2006-‘08.

“Residents living near the Valley Coal Plant have no choice but to breathe unhealthy air as a result of the plant,” said Dr. Patricia McManus, President and CEO of the Black Health Coalition of Wisconsin. “We’re hoping members of the community will join us Thursday to tell the DNR that it’s time for We Energies’ to clean up the Valley Power Plant.”

The Clean Air Act protects public health by limiting soot and other air pollutants from the plant with an air pollution permit. More than a year overdue, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources recently issued a draft air pollution permit and is now seeking public comment.

“In order to protect the health of Milwaukee residents, the permit must set stronger pollution limits for soot and smog pollution,” said Jennifer Feyerherm of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign. “This Thursday will be a rare opportunity for Southeast Wisconsin residents to speak up and demand environmental justice.”

The public and media are encouraged to attend the hearing which begins at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 4. It will be held at the Wisconsin DNR’s Southeast Region Headquarters located at 2300 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Room 140-141.