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Monday  Nov 19, 2018  08:09 AM

Local News

 

19 Speak at Public Hearing on Downstate Energy Producers

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 08:19:36 CST

Nineteen members of the public spoke to the Illinois Commerce Commission Tuesday afternoon about the future of downstate energy plants owned and operated by Dynegy. The public hearing was held in front of a standing-room only crowd in the county boardroom at the Historic Courthouse in Hillsboro.

Fillmore resident Heather Hampton+Knodle addressed the commission, saying that it would be a mistake to close "the cleanest coal-fired power plant in the world," referencing the current plant in Coffeen. She added that based on her personal experience, solar power is not an economic option, as one megawatt of power from solar energy requires approximately 150,000 panels, where as the Coffeen plant itself is able to produce 900 megawatts of power.

Hillsboro School Superintendent David Powell spoke about the impact closing the Coffeen plant would have on the school district he serves, stating that 31 percent of property tax revenue for the district comes from the power plant. He also said that the power station "doesn't need a handout, but just wants a level playing field."

Montgomery County Board Vice Chair and Finance Committee Chair Megan Beeler also referenced the financial impact the loss of the Coffeen plant would have on the county. She said that in 2016 alone, Dynegy paid $5.4 million in property taxes to Montgomery County, and that losing the plant would mean the county would lose businesses, services and tax dollars.

Other local representatives who spoke at the hearing included Hillsboro Mayor Brian Sullivan, Montgomery County Board members Glenn Savage and Dillon Clark, and local resident Bill Schroeder.

Representatives from Jasper and Randolph Counties, as well as the city of Newton, also spoke out in favor of giving a level playing field to Dynegy and the downstate Illinois power plants. Each speaker gave support to Senate Bill 2250 and House Bill 4141, which seek to reduce a disadvantage faced by downstate energy producers by making energy prices more competitive.

Opponents of the legislation were also represented hearing.

Tracy Fox of Peoria, said she and other residents of her area are concerned about coal ash issues caused by plants such as the one located in her hometown. She also claimed that "Dynegy is a company that is only about Dynegy," and that she believes the economics of coal do not work.

Litchfield resident Mary Ellen DeClue said she believes the commission should carefully consider input from the Solar and Wind communities. She added that "not having a coal severance tax in the state is a missed opportunity."

The ICC has until February 26, to submit a final report to the Governor's office.

 

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