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Residents hold demonstration on coal dust ahead of WEC Energy Group meeting

MEQUON, Wis. (CBS 58) – Oak Creek area residents held a demonstration about their concerns over coal dust Thursday morning.

The demonstration took place shortly before WE Energies parent company, WEC Energy Group held a shareholders meeting in Mequon.

Around 20 residents were joined by several shareholders who also expressed concerns over the coal dust.

In March, people in Oak Creek started noticing a coating of black dust on their homes and cars and raised concerns about the impact it could have on their health. WE Energies confirmed the dust blew into the neighborhood from a pile of coal.

“There’s no such thing as clean coal,” Caledonia resident Sister Janey Weyker said. “But there is clean energy. Wind and sun, that’s what we need to work for,”

WE Energies said they took measures to stop the dust from blowing into nearby neighborhoods again, but residents say they’re still finding the dust on their properties.

“We take our environmental responsibilities very seriously,” WEC Energy Group executive vice president Tom Metcalfe said. “We need to do a better job. We are looking at our operating protocols, tightening the things we do and making sure we keep our coal piles damp.”

In April, the company closed a coal plant in Pleasant Prairie due to changing energy economics.

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