New study shows pollution levels from E.D. Edwards Coal Plant (with poll)

By WEEK Producer

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October 29, 2013 Updated Oct 29, 2013 at 6:51 PM CDT

BARTONVILLE, Ill. -- A coalition of environmental groups has released a study on pollution from the E.D. Edwards Coal Plant in Bartonville.

The group says pollution from the plant has far reaching health risks to residents, including those outside of the Bartonville community.

The plant, owned by Ameren Corporation, has run its course according to the Central Illinois Healthy Community Alliance. They are fighting to shut it down.

"Central Illinois schools, hospitals, nursing homes and parks are also in this pollution impact zone, meaning our most vulnerable population of children, the sick and elderly are additionally exposed to this dangerous sulfur dioxide pollution,” said Kady McFadden of the Central Illinois Healthy Community Alliance.

"Statistics show that African Americans suffer the worst,” said Ernestine Jackson of the NAACP. “African Americans are hospitalized for asthma at more than three times the rate of all other persons."

In this latest showdown with Ameren Corporation, the Central Illinois Healthy Community Alliance released a study showing that Sulfur Dioxide coming out of the coal plants has potential health risks for not only Bartonville residents living near the plant but those in Peoria and Tazewell Counties as well.

"We have a chimney looming over the metro area that is emitting 11,000 to 12,000 tons of sulfur dioxide a year,” said Brian Urbaszewski of the Respiratory Health Association. “Readily available pollution controls could eliminate over 90 percent of these dangerous emissions.”

Ameren currently operates the coal plant but Texas-based Dynegy Energy is working with Ameren to take over the facility.

Alliance members said they met with Dynegy and Ameren but did not get assurances from either that more pollution controls would be installed soon.

In a statement, Ameren Corporation Vice President Michael Menne said the report was flawed and the analysis “grossly distorts and misstates the level of emissions”. Dynegy has asked the Illinois Pollution Control Board for a 5 year extension to comply with clean air standards.

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