State regulators are giving Ameren more time to install pollution controls at a coal-fueled power plant in Newton. The Illinois Pollution Control Board granted the delay, giving Ameren an extra five years to complete the upgrade at its Newton plant. That gives the company until 2020 to install equipment to control pollution linked to heart and lung problems. The company had agreed to do it by 2015.
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The company says it can't afford the upgrades right now because electricity prices have been driven down by competition from natural gas plants. It had said it might close other plants and lay off hundreds of workers if forced to install the equipment now. Environmental groups blasted the decision, saying it undercuts the state's pollution standards.