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Ameren's sale of five Illinois coal-fired power plants to Dynegy, Inc. will likely close next month. That after the Illinois Pollution Control board on Thursday granted Dynegy permission to defer the installation of multi-million dollar pollution controls for five years.
Ameren had agreed to the improvements years ago, but said approval of the environmental variance was a condition of the sale.
In a 3-1 vote, state regulators decided that forcing Dynegy to install the soot scrubbers immediately would "impose an arbitrary and unreasonable hardship."
ST. LOUIS (AP) - The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission says Ameren Corp. can sell five Illinois coal-fired plants to Houston-based Dynegy Inc. - though the deal still hinges on a pollution-control waiver.
Dynegy spokeswoman Katy Sullivan says the FERC approval came late Friday. She says it was an important milestone, but the sale could unravel unless the company gets approval from the Illinois Pollution Control Board to delay installing soot-control equipment required by state rules.
St. Louis-based Ameren Corp. already has a five-year waiver after claiming financial hardship. But the Pollution Control Board said it couldn't simply be transferred to Dynegy, which filed for its own.
Environmental groups say that the pollution-control upgrades are needed and that Dynegy was a willing buyer.
The Illinois panel is expected to make its decision next month.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A labor coalition wants Illinois' pollution control board to waive pollution controls at coal-fired plants being sold by Ameren Corp.
The AFL-CIO is making its position known hours before the Illinois Pollution Control Board is set to meet in Springfield on Tuesday.
The AFL-CIO says that move by the board would provide certainty to employers and communities in central and southern Illinois. But environmental groups say pollution upgrades are needed.
Houston-based Dynegy wants to buy the plants from Ameren, which has a waiver that allowed it to delay installing soot-control equipment at the five plants.
The board refused to transfer the waiver to Dynegy, saying it must make its own case for a waiver. Dynegy says it will do so.
The board is expected to make a decision by November.
The company that's taking over Ameren's coal-fired power plants in Illinois wants to take over their 5 year pollution waiver as well.
Dynegy Inc. agreed to acquire the plants six months after the Illinois Pollution Control Board granted a variance giving Ameren more time to meet stricter air pollution limits at their central and southern Illinois plants.
Ameren and Dynegy are expected to argue that the subsidiary formed to acquire the plants can't afford the costly pollution controls in a depressed power market, and would have to close some plants if a waiver isn't granted.
They claim dumping the Illinois coal plants will reduce business risk, improve earnings and strengthen its balance sheet. Ameren executives say the company will focus on its utilities and the expansion of its transmission system.
Dynegy Inc. will buy the five Ameren coal-fired power plants representing more than 4,100 megawatts of generating capacity as well as Ameren’s power marketing business.
Ameren will receive no cash in the deal, but it will benefit by offloading $825 million of debt tied to the generating business. The company said it will also realize $180 million in tax benefits.