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.
It wasn't exactly a "beauty" pageant but local environmentalists say that was the idea as they held a mock pageant of their own. They gathered along the St Louis riverfront at Poplar Street and S. Leonor K. Sullivan Blvd to name what they consider the most dangerous toxic water polluters in St. Louis.
Members of the Sierra Club from St. Louis, Franklin and Jefferson counties held a “Miss and Mr. Toxic Water Pollution” pageant. Residents dressed in hazmat suits represented Ameren’s coal-fired power plants in the St. Louis metro area. They are trying to get the EPA's attention about what they say is the dumping of arsenic, lead, boron and selenium from Ameren Missouri’s Meramec, Sioux, Rush Island and Labadie coal-fired power plants into Missouri waterways.
The groups, Sierra Club Beyond Coal and Sierra Club Missouri say they want stronger federal standards limiting toxic water pollution from coal-fired power plants. The mock pageant coincides with a new national report released by a coalition of environmental and clean water groups, including the Sierra Club. The report reviewed nearly 400 coal plant water permits across the country and its findings highlight the need for strong national coal plant water pollution standards.
The environmental groups claim existing guidelines written to limit toxics discharged from coal plants do not cover many of the worst pollutants such as those discharged in the Mississippi, Missouri and Meramec Rivers, and have not been updated in more than 30 years.
In April 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed the first ever national standards for toxics dumped into waterways from coal plants.