Environmental organizations filed a motion on Friday to halt hearings on Dynegy’s proposal, which would weaken pollution standards for the company’s coal-fired power plants in central and southern Illinois, until its merger with Vistra is complete. Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC), the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Sierra Club, and Respiratory Health Association (RHA) are asking to stay hearings for a rule before the Illinois Pollution Control Board that was drafted with substantial input from Dynegy. The proposed changes would allow Dynegy’s fleet to pollute nearly double the sulfur dioxide and nearly 80 percent more nitrogen oxide than the company emitted in 2016, both dangerous pollutants.
Vistra has not been involved in this rulemaking and, according to Dynegy, will not be bound to any of Dynegy’s statements about how it would operate the plants were the rule to be implemented. The environmental groups argue that the rulemaking should be put on hold until the merger is finished and the plans of the new company are better understood. Moreover, the resulting company will have over four billion dollars in equity and face an entirely different financial situation, undercutting Dynegy’s main argument for the rule change.
“This proposal would let Dynegy’s dirtiest coal plants pollute more, and is just one of the ways the company is trying to bail out its aging, uneconomic power plants. The health of Illinois shouldn’t suffer to make up for Dynegy’s poor business decisions.”
- Christie Hicks, Manager, Clean Energy Regulatory Implementation
“The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has been talking to the wrong company. It’s time to put an end to this poorly conceived, backroom proposal to boost profits at the expense of public health.”
- Lindsay Dubin, Staff Attorney, ELPC
“This motion will ensure that Illinois doesn’t rush to change important pollution standards that protect the health and environment of Illinoisans only to help a company that will no longer be in existence by the middle of this year.”
- Toba Pearlman, staff attorney at the NRDC
“Sierra Club members in Illinois have been working to hold Dynegy accountable for years. Our members, volunteers and allies are tired of seeing Dynegy crying broke and asking for handouts at the expense of Illinois families. In the Peoria area, where there are multiple Dynegy plants, we’ve seen the impacts first hand. The last thing Governor Rauner and the State of Illinois should be doing is bailing out aging, polluting coal plants so that a Texas energy corporation can boost its profits.”
- Joyce Blumenshine, Sierra Club Heart of Illinois Group Chair
“Governor Rauner must tell Dynegy to stand down and let the new owners at Texas-based Vistra Energy lay out their plans for these dangerous coal plants. If Vistra is taking over these coal plants this spring and also wants to sicken and kill Illinois residents by doubling the deadly pollution those coal plants emit, let’s hear it directly from them.”
- Brian Urbaszewski, Director Environmental Health Programs, RHA
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Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org), a leading international nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law, and innovative private-sector partnerships. Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and our Energy Exchange blog.
The Environmental Law & Policy Center (elpc.org) is the Midwest’s leading public interest environmental legal advocacy and eco-business innovation organization. We develop and lead successful strategic advocacy campaigns to improve environmental quality and protect our natural resources. We are public interest environmental entrepreneurs who engage in creative business deal making with diverse interests to put into practice our belief that environmental progress and economic development can be achieved together.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.
Respiratory Health Association has been a local public health leader since 1906. Today, the association works to prevent lung disease, promote clean air and help people live better through education, research, and policy change. For more information, visit www.lungchicago.org.