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      Consumers Energy planned plant shutdowns stalled

      Delayed environmental regulations are giving Consumers Energy the flexibility to keep two Bay County plants open through 2016; meaning about 350 employee's are staying on the payroll.

      In 2011 Consumers Energy announced it was shutting down plants in 2015 because the investments needed to meet regulations were too much.

      "With the pending environmental regulations it didnâ??t make sense for us," said Consumers Energy spokeswoman Mary Kulis.

      But federal officials are extending the amount of time the energy plant has to meet regulations.

      "What that does is give us the benefit of operating another year without having to purchase on the open market," said Kulis.

      Another year of business it making a bigger impression on a city that says they are striving to build commerce.

      "We have Uptown Bay City developments going on and the Karn Weadock maintaining the plant there is just going to be another plus," said President and CEO of the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce Mike Seward.

      Both parties say they are working together to plan for future government regulations to keep the Bay City area working.

      "We are investing fleet wide over a billion dollars to make sure that our generating fleet is in compliance," said Kulis.

      "Itâ??s going to assure were going to have more jobs more income for the people of this area," said Seward.

      Consumers Energy says they are working on a transition plan to make sure as many employee's as possible can stay with the company past 2016.