The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) is working openly to allow most of Illinois’ remaining coal-fired power plants to nearly double their emissions of lung-damaging air pollution. Dynegy, an energy company that owns eight coal plants in Illinois, started working behind the scenes with the IEPA over a year ago to weaken existing public health protections from air pollution.
Brian Urbaszewski, RHA’s Director of Environmental Health Policy at a press event opposing the ruling.
The IEPA is pushing the Illinois Pollution Control Board (IPCB) to remove existing limits on the pollution emission rates for this fleet of eight coal plants in southern and central Illinois and to instead impose annual caps on how many tons of deadly sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides the plants emit. The proposed rollback would allow Dynegy to keep dirty coal plants open while closing cleaner ones equipped with pollution ‘scrubbers’ and to emit approximately 30,000 more tons of air pollution every year that triggers asthma attacks, emergency department visits, hospitalizations and premature deaths.
RHA has spoken out against these efforts that could drastically increase dangerous air pollution and harm people living with lung disease and will continue to do so.
This month, we joined with our partner organizations to file a motion to stop the hearings on Dynegy’s rollback proposal until Dynegy completes a recent merger with a much larger company. Texas-based Vistra Energy acquired Dynegy in October 2017 and has not been involved in this rulemaking. We believe this dangerous rollback attempt should be put on hold until the merger is completed and Vistra publicly states whether it, too, wants to double air pollution from these coal plants.
Please join us in asking the IPCB to protect us all and prevent coal power plants from doubling the pollution they put in the air we breathe.
Fisk & Crawford Coal-Fired Power Plants Closed August 2012.
Five years ago this month, Respiratory Health Association helped secure the closure of Chicago’s two biggest polluters, the coal-fired Fisk power plant located in Pilsen and the Crawford plant in Little Village.
Together they emitted thousands of tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) every year, forming ozone smog and fine particle pollution. Their closures have saved an estimated 210 lives, prevented 330 heart attacks and avoided 3,600 pollution-caused asthma attacks – notable health victories worth celebrating at this five-year anniversary mark.
Years of effort by RHA’s staff and advocates as well as our Chicago Clean Power Coalition partners, working with the Chicago City Council and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, made these victories possible.
Of course, once the confetti was swept up we got right back to work.
Since that time we have achieved additional air quality improvements through our clean energy policy work and by educating individuals, business leaders and elected officials about clean-running vehicles and clean construction policies. Last year, RHA helped pass the Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA), making Illinois a nationwide leader in clean energy by expanding clean renewable solar and wind energy, reducing the use of coal and enacting better energy efficiency policies, all of which will lead to cleaner air.
Unfortunately, dirty coal plants continue to operate in Lake and Will counties as well as downstate, degrading air quality across the region. We are continuing our long-term legal and policy change strategies to combat these polluters. You can help RHA achieve our vision of clean air for all: donate now and sign up for RHA’s e-advocacy team to be part of our efforts.