Oak Creek residents demanding better protections from power plant pollutants

OAK CREEK, Wis. (CBS 58) -- People in Oak Creek are demanding better protections from pollution in Lake Michigan.

The DNR held a public hearing on Monday afternoon about We Energies water permit for the Oak Creek Power Plant.

The permit includes a provision that would allow We Energies to discharge mercury-tainted water into the lake at nearly three times the amount that humans can have.

"That's hazardous to child-bearing women... children ,sickly, the elderly... it's a brain poison," said Frank Michna who lives near the power plant.

"This 4.1 parts per trillion is not a level it would be at all the time -- the variance allows it to be as high as... but 99% of the time we would be low that level, and often times a lot below that level," said Brendan Conway, spokesperson for We Energies.

The permit would also allow We Energies to use certain coal-ash practices until 2023.

We Energies says the permit is similar to ones already used by other energy companies along Lake Michigan.

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