A west Michigan judge has ordered the state to reconsider its refusal to grant the Holland Board of Public Works a permit to build a coal-fired power plant. Governor Granholm could try to appeal the decision in the closing days of her administration. The ruling, if it stands, could also have implications for another coal plant proposal in Rogers City.
Ottawa County Circuit Judge Jon Van Allsburg says the governor exceeded her authority when she ordered regulators to look at alternatives to coal plants, and a region's demand for electricity before issuing a permit to the Holland utility. Van Allsburg says that's a policy decision that should be made by the Legislature. The city-owned Holland Board of Public Works wants to build a so-called "clean coal" plant that would emit fewer fumes than the generator it would replace. The state says the utility is ignoring opportunities to purchase energy from renewable sources.
Wolverine Power, of Cadillac, was also denied a permit to build a coal-fired power plant by the Granholm administration. The administration said Wolverine can't show enough new demand for electricity to justify the proposed plant in Rogers City.
The governor's spokeswoman says Granholm, who is an attorney, wants to see the order before deciding on an appeal. That decision could also be bumped to the incoming administration of Governor-elect Rick Snyder, who takes office January first.
Bob Allen contributed to this report.