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Consent Decree Filed in Edwards Coal Plant Lawsuit

Illinois Sierra Club

A coalition of environmental groups and the owners of the E.D. Edwards coal-burning power plant have filed a consent decree in federal court that would close the plant by the end of 2022.

The decree was jointly filed in the Central District of Illinois in Peoria on Tuesday. It was first announced by Illinois Power Resources Generating and the environmental groups led by the Natural Resources Defense Council last month. 

If approved by U.S. District Court Judge Joe Billy McDade, IPRG would pay $6.88 million into an account for public health and environmental projects in the greater Peoria area. 

The projects highlighted in the consent decree include electric bus funding for Peoria-area school or mass transit districts; energy efficiency improvements (with emphasis on low-income homeowners and renters); funding for solar power, particularly for schools, government buildings, affordable housing, and low-income housing; and education or medical interventions on lung health. 

Another $1.6 million would go towards job training or retraining programs. 

IPRG also couldn't factor in the Edwards plant closure into the 2,000 megawatt cap for coal plants recently implemented by the Illinois Pollution Control Board. 

In exchange for the plant's closure and the payments, the plaintiffs would drop their charges that IPRG violated the Clean Air Act. 

The U.S. Department of Justice submitted a letter to the court on Oct. 2, saying it had no objections to the consent decree. 

A response to motion deadline is set for Oct. 29. 

Copyright 2021 WCBU. To see more, visit WCBU.

Tim Shelley is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.