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Environmental Groups Urge Appeal of Holland Power Plant Ruling


HOLLAND, MI (WHTC News) - The struggle to expand Holland’s DeYoung Power Plant continues.

In the wake of Wednesday's decision by Ottawa County Circuit Court Judge Jon Van Allsburg, which overturned a state Department of Natural Resources and Environment ruling that rejected an application by the Holland Board of Public Works to expand its main electrical generating facility on Pine Avenue, a number of environmental groups are asking the state to appeal Van Allsburg's decision. In saying that the agency violated the state constitution, the judge ordered the agency to re-review the air quality permit request for adding a 78-megawatt boiler to the coal-burning plant.

In rejecting the application, DNR&E officials stated that the municipal utility failed to show that the expansion was necessary to meet projected capacity needs, but the BPW countered that this decision was based on what it claimed was a faulty state Public Service Commission report and not on federal clean air standards.

The DNR&E has until mid-February to issue a new ruling in the case. City and utility officials are expecting an appeal by the agency of Van Allsburg's ruling, but also wonder how a pending change of gubernatorial administrations will affect the DNR&E. In an interview with WHTC News on Friday, Holland Mayor Kurt Dykstra expressed confidence of eventual victory in this matter.

The BPW and the City of Holland is also a defendant in a federal lawsuit by the Sierra Club claiming that past expansions of the DeYoung Plant violated federal law.