SPRINGFIELD, Ill – Today, the Illinois Pollution Control Board (IPCB) denied a request by Ameren to transfer the company’s pollution variance request to Dynegy, a Texas-based company that recently purchased Ameren’s five Illinois merchant coal-fired power plants for no cash. IPCB found that Dynegy failed to demonstrate that following the current law would cause the company undue hardship. The variance request would give Dynegy five extra years to comply with Illinois’ Multi-Pollutant Standard, a state regulation enacted in 2006.
The Illinois Pollution Control Board’s decision today is a victory for public health. Ameren had a cleanup plan in place for its outdated coal-fired power plants for years, but chose not to follow it. After hearing from more than 8,000 citizens across Illinois who are tired of pollution from Ameren’s coal-fired power plants, the IPCB took action and the put health of Illinois families over big polluters.
Dynegy is asking its shareholders to take on a huge risk in the purchase of Ameren’s aging coal-fired power plants, which contribute to more than 2,000 asthma attacks and 120 premature deaths annually, according to the Clean Air Task Force. Allowing the new owner of Ameren’s plants to further delay installing life-saving pollution control technology for five more years would have been unconscionable. We applaud the IPCB for choosing our health over their profits.
Investing in dirty coal plants is very risky business. Illinois needs to move beyond fossil fuels to the clean energy solutions for tomorrow – wind, solar, and energy conservation. We have already seen more than 20,000 jobs created since Illinois set clean energy targets six years ago, and that is only the beginning if we keep moving beyond coal to clean energy. By focusing on clean energy and cleaning up dirty coal plants, Illinois can secure a healthier and more prosperous future.
Illinois families can’t afford to wait any longer for clean air. Today’s decision is a big step toward a better tomorrow.