Detroit — The Sierra Club officially kicked off a new public relations effort Tuesday targeting DTE Energy that seeks to highlight the utility’s reliance on coal plants.
The environmental group calls DTE “one of the most coal-dependent utilities in the country” and has planned a slate of advertisements called “DTE Hurts” that will cover billboards, websites and print publications around Metro Detroit.
“No doubt, DTE”s coal plants threaten our health and sicken our families by dumping dangerous chemicals into Michigan’s waterways,” said Oakland County Water Commissioner Jim Nash, a supporter of the campaign, in a statement released before Tuesday morning’s ceremony. “This campaign is aptly named. DTE absolutely hurts Michigan families.”
The Sierra Club takes issue with DTE’s use of outdated coal plants, which it says emit chemicals into surrounding neighborhoods, operate inefficiently and thus cause high rates for customers, and prevent the utility’s further investment in renewable energy.
On Monday, DTE officials responded to the Sierra Club’s allegations with a written statement.
“As the state’s largest investor in wind power and technology, DTE Energy supports including renewables as an important part of a diverse mix of energy sources that are necessary to help power Michigan,” the statement read. “We are committed to renewable energy while providing affordable and reliable power to our customers.”
The power provider also noted the construction and operation of its wind farms have created hundreds of Michigan jobs over the years. In addition, the company said it has reduced particulate emissions by more than 90 percent during the past four decades.