New Environmental Protection Act regulations have thrown yet another monkey wrench in the efforts of Wolverine Power Co-Op to build a new, state of the art coal-fired power plant in Rogers City.
During a special community update event in Rogers City the company explained how it has been unable to find someone to construct the plant that could assure it would meet stricter standards. Wolverine Director of Community and Government Affairs Director Ken Bradstreet said it is another on a long list of hurdles that have hindered the project and there will be a freeze on spending on plans for the facility.
"The fact of the matter is it presents a significant roadblock and we need to see if we are going to be able to get around it," Bradstreet said. "The new regulations are a challenge and we haven't been able to get any of our vendors to guarantee that if they build it, it will meet the new standards. We're going to step back for a while and the money we had budgeted for this year for design and engineering will not be used now. We would rather wait and spend it when we feel we have a chance to meet the new rules."
Bradstreet said the company still will have a presence in the Rogers City community, as it has for more than five years.
"We have not stopped the project and we are not going anywhere," Bradstreet said. "We are still going to defend our permit and contribute to the community as we have been. This does not take Rogers City off the table and a lot can happen over the course of a year. We expect the new regulations to be challenged, or one of our vendors may find they can construct the plant the way it needs to be to meet the new guidelines. I know there are a lot of rumors out there on Facebook, but ones that claim the project has been abandoned are false."
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5689.