For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Shannon Fisk, Earthjustice,, (215) 327-9922 
Brian Willis, 

Judge Rejects US Department of Justice Opposition to Millions in Investments for Vulnerable Communities in Southeast Michigan

Trump Administration blocked from interfering in agreement that would provide funding for electric buses, environmental projects in communities burdened by decades of air pollution.

WASHINGTON - Today, a federal court Judge ruled against the Department of Justice’s objection to an agreement between DTE Energy and the Sierra Club that would bring air quality improvements to communities of color burdened by decades of coal plant pollution in River Rouge, Ecorse, and the 48217 zip code. This decision will preserve funds for electric buses and $2 million in community based environmental projects in southeast Michigan that DTE Energy committed to while also finalizing retirement dates for three coal plants.

“The judge’s ruling to reject DOJ’s meddling and protect millions of dollars dedicated to community projects and electric buses is backed by legal precedent, and a common-sense recognition of the important benefits at stake for communities that have suffered from decades of environmental injustice,” said Shannon Fisk, Earthjustice Managing Attorney who litigated the matter on behalf of the Sierra Club. “We hope that the DOJ will take this as a clear signal that it should not be interfering with the ability of communities to protect their interests in the enforcement of our nation’s environmental laws.” 

“This is a crucial victory protecting our historic settlement agreement with DTE, delivering cleaner air to Michigan’s most disproportionately polluted communities,” said Mike Berkowitz, Beyond Coal Campaign Representative with the Sierra Club. “Scientists confirmed that exposure to air pollution from coal plants decreases the chance of survival once contracting Coronavirus, exacerbating the already dire threats facing communities in environmental injustice hotspots. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the judge’s decision couldn’t have come at a more crucial time for Michigan communities.”



This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

Earthjustice is a non-profit public interest law firm dedicated to protecting the magnificent places, natural resources, and wildlife of this earth, and to defending the right of all people to a healthy environment. We bring about far-reaching change by enforcing and strengthening environmental laws on behalf of hundreds of organizations, coalitions and communities.

Share This Article