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Representative Darin LaHood

Representing the 18th District of Illinois

LaHood Urges FERC to Review Vistra Closures

September 16, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Darin LaHood (IL-18) today urged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in a letter to review the recent Vistra Energy plant closures as a result of the State of Illinois’ politically driven anti-coal approach to energy policy. The letter was also signed by Congressmen Mike Bost (IL-12) and Rodney Davis (IL-13).

“We strongly support an all of the above energy approach. Having a diversified energy portfolio is important for both national security and grid reliability, especially in rural areas during times of extreme cold and heat. It is unfortunate that the state of Illinois has chosen to take this politically driven anti-coal approach to energy policy, resulting in job loss and a potential negative economic impact on consumers and communities.

“As the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission reviews these closures, within all relevant rules and regulations, we urge a thorough and thoughtful analysis, keeping in mind our constituencies serious concerns regarding the impact on grid reliability, electricity costs, job loss, and the overall negative economic consequences on the surrounding communities,” the lawmakers stated in the letter.

The closure of the Havana Power Plant in Havana, IL, which has been operational for 41 years, will cost the community 75 jobs. Additionally, the closure of the Duck Creek Power Plant in Canton, IL, which has been operational for 43 years, will cost the community 60 jobs.

Full text of the letter is available here and below.

September 16, 2019

Chairman Neil Chatterjee
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
888 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20426

Dear Chairman Chatterjee,

In 2016, the state of Illinois adopted the Future Energy Jobs Act which overhauled the state’s energy policy. Earlier this year, as a result of revisions to Illinois’ Multi-Pollutant Standard (MPS) rule imposed by the Illinois Pollution Control Board, the Illinois General Assembly Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) entered into an agreement with Vistra Energy that would require the company to retire 2,000 MW of generation throughout downstate Illinois. On August 13, JCAR voted to move forward with this agreement.

In order to meet the requirements of the revised MPS rule and the JCAR agreement, on August 21, Vistra Energy announced the closure of four coal-fueled Illinois power plants. These include: Coffeen Power Plant, Duck Creek Power Plant (in Canton), Havana Power Plant, and Hennepin Power Plant. As large and important employers in Illinois, in total, these plant site closures will result in the elimination of 300 good-paying jobs and the loss of a tax base which will negatively impact the surrounding school districts. For over 40 years, each plant has provided power generation for the surrounding communities. Of note, three of these plants are fitted with scrubbers, which reduce sulfur dioxide emissions.

We strongly support an all of the above energy approach. Having a diversified energy portfolio is important for both national security and grid reliability, especially in rural areas during times of extreme cold and heat. It is unfortunate that the state of Illinois has chosen to take this politically driven anti-coal approach to energy policy, resulting in job loss and a potential negative economic impact on consumers and communities.

As the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission reviews these closures, within all relevant rules and regulations, we urge a thorough and thoughtful analysis, keeping in mind our constituencies serious concerns regarding the impact on grid reliability, electricity costs, job loss, and the overall negative economic consequences on the surrounding communities.

Sincerely,