Coal Plant’s Permit Still Does Not Reflect the Project’s Promise to Illinois Citizens
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. –(ENEWSPF)–December 12, 2014. Yesterday, the Sierra Club filed an appeal in Illinois’ Fourth District Appellate Court, appealing the Illinois Pollution Control Board’s (IPCB) decision to allow the FutureGen project to move forward as permitted. The Sierra Club argued that Clean Air Act construction permit for the FutureGen coal plant project in Meredosia, Ill fails to address significant air quality issues raised by the project’s emissions.
The IPCB ruling contradicts Illinois law as well as the federal Clean Air Act. IPCB also failed to provide Sierra Club with the legally required opportunity to access vital information prior to issuing its decision.
“The permit for the FutureGen coal plant doesn’t match the project’s hype,” said Holly Bender, Deputy Director of the Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign. “The FutureGen Alliance promised the U.S. Department of Energy, the State of Illinois, and its citizens that it was building a “near-zero emissions” plant that would capture 90 percent of its carbon dioxide. The permit FutureGen now possesses is for a very different project. The Sierra Club is simply working to realign this project to its promise.”
Calls for accountability are growing as the FutureGen coal plant is now one of the most expensive coal plants in the entire country, second only to the Kemper coal plant in Mississippi, which has been plagued by cost overruns in the billions. The FutureGen coal plant puts Illinois citizens on the hook to pay dramatically above-market rates for power from the project for decades, all while clean energy prices continue to plummet.
The Illinois Supreme Court announced earlier this month that it will hear an appeal from The Illinois Competitive Energy Association and a group of industrial energy customers about whether electricity consumers across the state will have to subsidize the FutureGen project.
“Imagine what the $1.65 billion on the table for the small and risky FutureGen project could mean if it were invested in clean, wind energy projects across the state?” continued Bender. “It would mean revenue and economic development for many different rural Illinois communities, lower costs for consumers and a modernized energy economy in the state.”
Beyond the appeal filed today by the Sierra Club regarding the project’s troubled air permit, local landowners have filed an appeal of FutureGen’s Underground Injection Control (UIC) permit, which authorizes the plant to inject more than 22 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the ground near their property. This appeal currently sits with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Environmental Appeals Board.