9/17/2019 1:02:00 PM Texas-based energy company agrees to close Illinois coal plant
PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Texas-based Vistra Energy has agreed to shutter a coal power facility in central Illinois by the end of 2022 under a preliminary settlement with environmental groups that sued the plant in 2013.
The Sierra Club announced Monday that the agreement with Vistra Energy affiliate Illinois Power Resources Generating to close the E.D. Edwards coal plant in Peoria County will proceed to the federal judge hearing the case, the Journal Star reported.
Ryan Hidden, who helped organize the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, said in a news release that the Environmental Protection Agency is reviewing the settlement.
“Residents in the Peoria area have been working for years to voice concerns and hopes to push for a cleaner and more just energy future,” Hidden said.
Sierra Club’s release also states the agreement includes the provision of $8.6 million to create clean energy jobs and public health and environmental projects in Illinois.
“The proposed settlement resolves a long-running lawsuit while providing three years of certainty for the more than 70 employees working at the Edwards plant and, importantly, a transition period for the community to plan for the plant closure,” Illinois Power Resources Generating said in a statement. “IPRG and Edwards look forward to continuing to provide reliable power for Illinois for the next three years while supporting the communities where our employees live and work.”
Marvin Hightower, who heads the Peoria chapter of the NAACP, said in a statement that the proposed agreement marks an “important benchmark” in improving the air quality for families near the Edwards power plant.
“Across the country, it is black and brown communities that bear the heaviest burden of the fossil fuel industry’s pollution, but today we breathe just a little easier as we take another step toward a clean energy future that listens to environmental justice communities like ours when it matters most,” Hightower said.
The announcement comes less than a month after Vistra disclosed plans to shut down its coal power plants in Canton, Havana, Hennepin and in Coffeen, which is south of Springfield.