By Michele Bourdieu
This photo shows a hole in the top of the L'Anse Warden Electric Co. (LWEC) "biomass" plant in L'Anse. According to DEQ, the hole does not affect emissions. The plant is temporarily "off-line" -- not operating. This will not affect the DEQ Public Hearing scheduled for Sept. 28. LWEC is working on maintenance but not sharing the reason for not operating. (Photo courtesy Doug Welker)
L'ANSE -- Keweenaw Now received word today, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016, that the L'Anse Warden plant is presently "off-line," i.e., temporarily not operating. Ed Lancaster, DEQ Air Quality Division environmental quality analyst, said today that the Public Hearing scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28, with an information, question-answer meeting at 6 p.m., will take place as announced. The hearing will be held at the L'Anse High School Cafetorium.*
"The maintenance issues they're having are not related to the public hearing," Lancaster told Keweenaw Now today.
The hearing is only about the draft Consent Form and the draft Permit to Install, he explained. Only comments on these will be taken during the hearing beginning at 7 p.m. From 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. the public may ask general questions.
Lancaster confirmed that there is a hole in the structure of the stack at the plant -- near the top, near the exit of the stack.
"It's not going to affect the emissions at all," he said.
Lancaster said he was not sure what problems caused the plant to cease operations recently.
Steve Walsh, CEO of Traxys Power Group, which operates L'Anse Warden Electric Co. (LWEC), told Keweenaw Now today he could not comment on the reason for the plant being "off-line," but the company is working on the maintenance so that operations can resume as soon as possible.
"We're in the process of getting back on line as soon as possible because we know the people of Michigan need a local source of generation to maintain good grid stability," Walsh said.
Asked if the L'Anse Warden plant supplies electricity to the local area, Walsh said, "It certainly does."
* See our article posted yesterday, Sept. 26, 2016: "Video Report: Concerned citizens challenge DEQ, EPA officials on L'Anse Warden Plant pollution; DEQ Public Hearing to be Sept. 28."