The sale of five Illinois coal-fueled power plants is on after a decision by the Illinois Pollution Control Board to allow extra time for installation of equipment to reduce pollution. The board voted 3-1 Thursday in favor of a pollution-control waiver to Texas-based Dynegy. The current owner of the plants, Ameren, had been given until 2020 to install soot-control equipment. Dynegy asked for the same waiver, saying without it, it may not go through the purchase.
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“We intend to close the transaction in December,” said Katy Sullivan, spokeswoman for Dynegy. Environmental groups are against the delay, saying Dynegy knew going into the deal that these plants are losing money and still needed this new equipment. “That’s fine if they want to take that gamble,” said Kady McFadden, organizing representative with the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, “but it shouldn’t be sort of rubber-stamped by an Illinois state board.”
Board chairwoman Deanna Glosser seemed to agree with opponents with her dissenting vote, saying she doesn’t believe Dynegy has demonstrated an economic hardship. The five plants in the deal are located in Canton, Bartonville, Coffeen, Newton, and Joppa. As part of their decision, the board recommended the E.D. Edwards plant in Bartonville be retired as soon as possible.