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Dynegy wants to re-write the rules on pollution and pass the buck to its customers

By Christie Hicks


For the last several years, Illinois’ largest coal-fired electricity generator has sought ways to saddle customers with the cost – and pollution – of propping up its old, dirty coal plants.

One of Dynegy’s tactics is to re-write pollution regulations and boost profits. At a public hearing next week, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and our partners will argue against the rule change and for cleaner, more affordable electricity.


Re-writing the rules

I have written about Dynegy’s dirty deeds in the past. First, the company went to the state legislature and asked for a bailout. When EDF and our allies beat back Dynegy’s efforts there, the energy giant worked behind closed doors with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to revise the rules, which would allow the company to run dirtier, cheaper plants more often and lift profit margins even higher.

Dynegy wants to re-write the rules on pollution and pass the buck to its customers
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The Illinois Pollution Control Board is tasked with reviewing and approving any changes to pollution regulations. The Board rejected Dynegy’s first request for a rule re-write and proposed its own rule change, which unfortunately would still open the door for increased pollution over what the coal plants emitted in 2017 and years prior.

EDF and our allies are concerned about the detrimental health impacts, especially in communities already among the hardest hit by pollution, so we want to halt the rule change altogether. The Board is continuing to take public comments and is holding a public hearing next week on Tuesday, January 29 in Springfield, Illinois.

Economics aren’t on coal’s side

The reality is, coal plants are increasingly uncompetitive in today’s clean energy economy. Other cleaner sources of electricity, like natural gas, wind and solar, are more affordable.

The Illinois Commerce Commission recently updated its report on power in Illinois, which recommended that the state could rely on existing market forces. In other words, uncompetitive resources (like coal) should exit the market.

Say no to more pollution

Despite these pleas for help, Dynegy is still earning millions of dollars in profit – the company was recently bolstered by a buyout from energy behemoth Vistra. High profits are just another reason Illinoisans should not be forced to bail out Dynegy-Vistra’s old, uneconomic coal plants.

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