New IEPA Analysis Estimates Tenaska Pollution, Raises Doubts About Pollution Controls

As the General Assembly prepares to consider requiring Illinois residents and businesses to subsidize a coal plant proposed for Taylorville, Illinois, new findings from the Illinois EPA raise serious concerns about the pollution the facility will cause, and about the feasibility of the project’s proposed pollution controls.

“The Tenaska project just gets dirtier and more expensive as it goes along, and we should not be forced to subsidize this dangerous experiment through our electric bills,” said Jack Darin, Director, Sierra Club, Illinois Chapter. “We are now learning that the plant may pump up to 10 billion pounds of global warming pollution into our air, and hundreds of pounds of toxic mercury, which threatens children’s brains and nervous systems.”

According to a draft air permit from Illinois Environmental Protection Agency issued October 17th, Tenaska’s project, also know as Christian County Generation LLC, has the potential to emit 9,980,000,000 pounds of greenhouse gases per year, up to 206 pounds of toxic mercury, and up to 438 pounds of lead pollution.

“While the Tenaska bill claims to be new, clean coal, under that veneer its just another dirty plant,” said Bruce Ratain with Environment Illinois.

This week, a coalition of clean energy, clean water, and faith leaders sent a joint letter to legislators urging them to oppose the project. The group includes the Eco-Justice Collaborative, Environment Illinois, Faith In Place, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Prairie Rivers Network, Protestants For the Common Good, and Sierra Club. They wrote:

“As leaders of the Illinois environmental community, we write to urge your opposition to any legislation to require that Illinois ratepayers purchase the power generated by the Taylorville Energy Center project proposed by the Tenaska Corporation.

The Illinois Senate is expected to consider legislation this week that would compel residential and business electricity customers to purchase Tenaska’s power for 30 years.

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