DTE Energy Company accused of environmental offences in Canada



    SARNIA, ON, March 8 /CNW/ - Michigan's DTE Energy Company is being
charged for its role in polluting the St. Clair River with mercury. Scott
Edwards, a Canadian citizen and authority on mercury pollution, was in Sarnia
court Wednesday alleging that DTE Energy's coal-fired energy complex on the
banks of the St. Clair River has been breaching Canada's Fisheries Act for two
years.
    DTE Energy, the parent company of Detroit Edison, operates the St.
Clair/Belle River coal-fired power plant complex in Michigan. On average, the
facility emits 2,000 pounds of mercury each year. A test of pollution control
technology in 2004 reduced mercury emissions at the St. Clair plant by 94%. At
the conclusion of the 30-day test, DTE Energy stopped using the mercury
control technology.
    More than half of DTE Energy's mercury emissions land in Canada. When the
mercury enters the St. Clair River, it spreads throughout the food chain,
harmfully altering fish habitat and rendering fish unsafe for human
consumption.
    Edwards is alleging that DTE's mercury deposits are illegal under
Canada's Fisheries Act and has launched a private prosecution. Private
prosecutions allow any Canadian citizen to independently prosecute offences in
the criminal courts. Fines under the Fisheries Act can range up to $1-million
a day.
    "DTE has acted with a blatant disregard for the health and welfare of
Canadian citizens and Canadian law," states Edwards. "My hope is that this
prosecution will result in significant reductions in DTE Energy's mercury
emissions and a cleaner and safer St. Clair River."

    Scott Edwards is the Legal Director for Waterkeeper Alliance, a global
coalition of 150 grassroots environmental groups, and a leading authority on
mercury pollution. He is being aided by three other affiliates of Waterkeeper
Alliance, Mark Mattson, Doug Chapman and Doug Martz. Mattson is lead
investigator and the Lake Ontario Waterkeeper. Doug Chapman is lead counsel
and the Fraser Riverkeeper. Martz is the St. Clair Channelkeeper.
    The court will set a date for the initial hearing later this month.




For further information:

For further information: www.waterkeeper.ca and www.waterkeeper.org;
Contact: Scott Edwards, Informant, (914) 674-0622 ext.13; Mark Mattson,
Investigator and co-counsel, (416) 861-1237; Doug Chapman, Counsel, (604)
646-0477

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