Illinois Pollution Control Board (IPCB) on Thursday granted
Houston-based Dynegy Inc.'s request for a pollution waiver for five
Illinois coal-fired power plants it plans to buy.
The pollution variance gives the company until 2020
to meet the state's clean air standards by installing modern pollution
controls at the five central and southern Illinois plants it wants to
purchase from St. Louis-based Ameren Corp. Those plants include the Newton, Coffeen, Duck Creek, Joppa and E.D. Edwards facilities. Click through for Progress Illinois' full story on the pending sale.
and public health advocates say the pollution control board, which is
appointed by the governor, made the wrong decision.
decision will damage public health and the environment by delaying
state clean air standards that address dangerous coal plant pollution,” Andrew Armstrong, staff attorney with the Environmental Law and Policy Center, said in a statement. “Delaying these protections – which Dynegy well understands – comes at a high cost to Illinois families and communities.”
Brian Urbaszewski, director of Environmental Health at Respiratory Health Association, said the pollution variance "exposes Illinois families to many more
years of dangerous coal pollution and increased respiratory illness.”
“More than 8,000 Illinois residents spoke out to IPCB
demanding clean air, and those calls cannot be ignored," he said. "The
state cannot continue to gamble with the health of Illinois families by
giving free passes to polluters. Illinois families will continue the
fight for clean air.”
Kady McFadden, Sierra Club Beyond Coal campaign organizer in Illinois, added that the pollution variance poses a risk for nearby communities, which may be forced to pick up the tab for future environmental cleanup costs.
She noted that, “building
clean energy like wind and solar in Illinois has helped cut millions of
tons of pollution and created nearly 20,000 clean energy jobs."
"Now is the time to be setting plans to strengthen Illinois communities
into the future, but running dirty, decades-old coal plants into the
ground puts Illinois on a path backwards,” McFadden added.