U.S. regulators schedule hearing on harm DTE Energy's proposed Fermi 3 would have on snake


MONROE -- U.S. nuclear regulators say they will schedule a hearing on whether a proposed plant addition to DTE Energy’s Fermi nuclear power plant complex in southeastern Michigan would harm the habitat of an endangered snake.

According to the Atomic Safety & Licensing Board of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the hearing will consider whether the eastern fox snake would be at risk during construction of a proposed Fermi 3 plant.

The date and location for the hearing has not yet been decided, DTE officials said today.

DTE's sole nuclear plant, Fermi 2 plant, is located in Monroe County’s Frenchtown Township, near Monroe and along the western Lake Erie shoreline.

The Fermi complex is home to the species, which the Michigan Department of Natural Resources lists as a threatened species protected by state law. 

Environmental and anti-nuclear groups, which requested the hearing, say an environmental impact statement for the new plant lacks specifics on how DTE will protect the snake.

DTE spokesman Guy Cerullo says Michigan environmental regulators have approved the company's plans for protecting the snake. The energy company’s request to “kill the hearing,” was recently denied by the licensing board, he said.

“We respect the decision that has been made and look forward to the hearing and resolving this contention,” Mr. Cerullo said.