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News Releases from Region 05

EPA settlement with DTE Energy to reduce air pollution in Southeast Michigan

Contact Information: 
Joshua Singer (

CHICAGO (May 14, 2020) – DTE Energy will reduce pollution at five coal-fired power plants in southeast Michigan in a settlement that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today. The settlement also requires DTE Energy to pay a $1.8 million civil penalty and to undertake a $5.5 million mitigation project to improve air quality in the region by replacing old buses in the area with newer, cleaner ones.

“This settlement will improve air quality in Southeast Michigan to help protect people’s health and the environment,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator Kurt Thiede. “The company agreed to carry out a bus replacement project under the settlement that will go even further to make the air cleaner in the area.”

The settlement resolves a lawsuit filed by the United States against DTE Energy in 2010, alleging that the company violated the New Source Review requirements of the Clean Air Act. Under the settlement with EPA, DTE Energy will install pollution controls or convert to natural gas all coal-fired units at its Belle River, River Rouge, St. Clair and Trenton Channel generating stations. DTE must also meet enforceable emission limits for sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide at its Monroe Generation Station.  Upon completion of all requirements under this settlement, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions at all of DTE’s facilities in Southeast Michigan will be reduced by an estimated 138,000 total tons per year when compared to the year 2010.

The settlement also requires DTE to develop and implement a mitigation project to replace school buses or municipal transit buses in Southeast Michigan with new, more energy-efficient buses to reduce the public exposure to harmful particulate matter and nitrogen oxide.

This settlement will help protect human health and the environment while also ensuring that Detroit-area residents continue to have access to affordable electricity. Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, two key pollutants emitted from coal-fired power plants, can harm human health and are significant contributors to acid rain, smog, and haze.  These pollutants are converted in the air into fine particles that can cause severe respiratory and cardiovascular impacts and premature death.  Reducing these harmful air pollutants will benefit communities in southeast Michigan and beyond.

The proposed settlement is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval. To view the consent decree or to submit a comment, visit the Department of Justice website at:

Information about EPA Region 5's air enforcement program is at

Potential environmental violations may be reported at