The Illinois Pollution Control Board is taking public input on proposed rule changes Wednesday and Thursday in Peoria.
Environmental, respiratory-health and social advocates are urging the Board to uphold existing Multi-Pollutant Standards.
Dynegy, the Texas-based owner of Edwards Power station in Peoria County is seeking the rule changes opponents say could more than double air pollution.
Brian Urbaszewski is Director of the Respiratory Health Association. He says current emissions rules create a balance between coal-fired plants with scrubbers, and those without -- like the Edwards plant:
“Going from a rate to cap, we have a series of problems that can occur. Dynegy plants can use dirtier coal that increases air pollution. They can close scrubbers or scrubbed plants and simply run dirtier plants instead without that equipment. They can run the scrubbers less often than they have in the past all which result in more pollution in the air people breathe,” Urbaszewski said.
The Clean Air Task Force has attributed an increased number of deaths, heart and asthma attacks to the Edwards Power Station. The smokestack plume released from Dynegy’s Edwards plant primarily affects Peoria’s 61605 ZIP code, one of the poorest ZIP codes in the country.
Lindsay Dubin, an attorney with the Environmental Law and Policy Center, says clean air regulations specify the state must be protective of people’s health and quality of life.
“This rule would do just the opposite. In fact, IEPA, when they introduced this rule said the goal is operational flexibility for Dynegy. On top of that when they introduced this rule, they requested this rulemaking be expedited specifically for Dynegy to have operational flexibility sooner.”
Dynegy says the proposed rule changes would mean more stringent emission limits overall at the company’s eight downstate plants in exchange for a number of regulatory and environmental benefits including restoring operational flexibility. The company says it’s premature to comment on the impact it would have on individual plant run-times.
The Illinois Pollution Control Board finishes Peoria hearings Thursday at the Peoria Public Library. The agency is also reportedly taking written statements from citizens through the end of January.
The IEPA does not have an independent link for submitting citizen comments on the subject. But the Illinois Sierra has created a form with direct submission to the appropriate hearing officer. The Sierra Clubs form is linked here.
The hearing officer to receive the citizen input on the subject is Marie Tipsford (Marie.Tipsord@illinois.gov). Communications should be titled in regards to "R2018-20, Amendments to 35 Ill. Adm. Code 225.233"