NASHVILLE, IL — “Following a nearly one hour closed session at a special meeting Tuesday, the board voted unanimously to amend its landfill ordinance to allow the proposed coal combustion residual monofill site on a 720 acre tract of land west of the Prairie State coal-fired power plant in Lively Grove Township, as well as the agreement itself.
…Dale Wojtkowski presented a petition of 66 signatures of those who will live near he waste facility.
He told the board, ‘Most of these folks here are the people from the immediate area. They are my neighbors. They are people that I’ve lived with for 25 to 30 years, and we’re very concerned…When you’re destroying 640 acres of farm land, that is not a good idea. If it was 100 feet outside of Nashville here, people would be raising heck about it. It would be a whole different story, and you know that.’
Wojtkowski asked why the waste facility was being considered when prior assurances were reportedly made by Prairie State executives in 2005 that no such sites would be placed in Washington County, but he was informed by the county’s legal counsel that the company was interested in creating a monofill but could not acquire the necessary property at that time.”
— Jason Silvey, Centralia Sentinel
link to pdf of article
ST LOUIS, MO — “No serious fan would make a decision about game season based on opening day, yet some people who were quoted in “Coal plant not living up to its promises” (June 17), an article on the Prairie State Energy Campus in Southern Illinois, suggest we do just that when it comes to our region’s energy future.
Prairie State’s nine owners made an energy investment that will continue to benefit our area over many decades to come. The decision to construct Prairie State is based on coal’s extensive track record as the most affordable and reliable baseload fuel over time. Prairie State’s owners came to the right decision then for their ratepayers, and constructing Prairie State remains the right decision today.”
— Vic Svec, Senior Vice President of Investor Relations and Corporate Communications, Peabody Energy, letter to the editor, St Louis Post-Dispatch
NASHVILLE, IL — The Washington County Board has held a series of finance committee meetings to discuss the proposed new Near Field Landfill for the Prairie State coal plant, but has closed the meetings to the public.
Documents received through a Freedom of Information Act request show that the committee closed the meetings on April 30, May 7, May 24, and June 7. Another finance committee meeting is scheduled for tonight, with a meeting of the full board scheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday,June 26, at 7 p.m.). County residents are circulating petitions in opposition to the proposed landfill.
— Dale Wojtkowski
Special meeting of the Washington County Board
Tuesday, June 26th at 7p.m.
Washington Coounty Courthouse in Nashville
After stating on the record in 2005 that there would be No coal ash landfill in Washington County, Prairie State is now asking for a permit from the Washington County Board to dump coal ash onto a 720 acre tract adjacent to the plant just south of the Biddleborn church. This toxic ash pile will eventually be over 250 feet tall with nothing to prevent contaminated dust from blowing onto property and into homes near and far. And, contaminated water leaching into creeks and ground water will always be a threat.
Please attend the meeting on June 26 at 7 p.m. and/or call your county board representative to tell them:
1) You don’t want a toxic waste dump in Washington County.
2) Don’t sell out the residents of Washington County. Oppose the coal ash landfill.
3) Prairie State already has two permitted sites which are NOT near homes.
Please consider going the extra mile and notify your friends and neighbors in Washington County about this important issue.
Thank you so much.
If you have questions please contact Dale Wojtkowski
MARISSA, IL — “AMP, the Ohio based cooperative of which Coldwater is a member, is one of nine owners and the managing partner for construction.
While an abundance of natural gas has driven down power prices from highs of over $100 a MW hour to around $35 in the present market. Beckhusen has said the power generated at the plant will not likely ever come to Coldwater but will be sold to offset costs to buy power in this region.
…Final completion of the power plant is scheduled for 2013. It is located in Washington County, Ill., about 60 miles southeast of St. Louis.
There is no final price on the project. Contractor Bechtel Corp will pay some damages for failure to have the plant operational on time but those have not yet been determined”
—Don Reid, The Daily Reporter
link to article
WASHINGTON CO, IL — “But now, as the first of two 800-megawatt generating units at Prairie State begin operations — six months late — the plant hardly seems the bargain it did five years ago.
The $5 billion price tag is 25 percent more than when the city signed on, driving up the price of electricity that Kirkwood and other cities are obligated to buy. And construction delays mean the city is getting nothing for the monthly $296,000 checks it began writing to Prairie State’s owners in February.
To be sure, a lot has changed since 2006 — market shifts no one saw coming. Natural gas prices plunged to the lowest level in a decade, and the market price of electricity has fallen, too. And the Great Recession took a big bite out of electricity demand, which has yet to fully recover.”
— Jeffrey Tomich, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
link to article
MARISSA, IL — The Washington County Board tabled a decision to allow the Prairie State coal plant to create a new coal ash landfill at its meeting Tuesday. The item was moved to the board’s next meeting, scheduled for July 10, at 3 pm. Area resident Dale Wojtkowski testified in opposition to the proposed landfill during the public comment portion of the meeting. He cited the environmental hazards of turning 740 acres of farmland into a coal ash dump, and reminded the board that in 2005, when the plant was being proposed, Colin Kelly, president of Prairie State Generating System, had promised the zoning board that “all waste will be disposed outside of Washington County in disposal sites properly permitted by the State of Illinois.“
COLUMBUS, OH — “American Municipal Power of Columbus owns 23 percent of the plant, a larger share than any other owner. Its share of power from the plant will be used by city-owned utilities in several states that agreed to the investment, including 60 cities in Ohio, including Galion, the nearest to Columbus.
AMP officials, who did not respond to requests for comment, said in a regulatory filing that power won’t be available sooner than July 1 because of administrative issues related to transporting the power from Illinois.
Prairie State has endured cost overruns and delays, and it has faced criticism from environmental groups, which say it is unwise to invest in coal power. The unit that is now online was scheduled to be completed late last year.
The AMP cities that invested in the project have had to pay interest on the bonds that financed the plant while they waited for it to be completed and to begin generating power.
AMP has said that electricity from Prairie State will cost $57 per megawatt-hour and average $65 per megawatt-hour for the life of the plant. Right now, wholesale electricity prices are much lower than the cost of power from Prairie State, a disparity that has amplified concerns about the project.”
— Dan Gearino, Columbus Dispatch
link to article
— American Municipal Power
— press release, American Municipal Power
Columnist Katie Hilton
LEBANON, MO — “When Lebanon joined MoPEP, the city took on a share of MoPEP’s gigantic debt. Lebanon’s debt is nearly $56 million. We owe the debt, plus the cost of power we will buy.
The attorney general’s office apparently provided the nudge that made city officials produce Lebanon’s debt share, a figure I’ve sought since November.
No wonder the city dragged its feet producing the facts! When City Council signed with MoPEP in 2009, there was basically zero discussion and no financial analysis of the MoPEP contract, only a basic legal review by the city counselor. The contract referred to debt, but Lebanon’s share was not listed on the table where it was supposed to be listed. Apparently no one noticed, or cared. It’s not like City Council was committing its own money, right? It was somebody else’s money. Your money.
Back then, when I asked about our new debt, never presented to voters, or even discussed, Public Works Director Richard Shockley coughed up a MoPEP document. Lebanon’s share of the debt for Prairie State and two other generating stations was $43 million. Now it’s up by $13 million in less than three years, after cost overruns at Prairie State and MoPEP’s buying into two natural gas-fired facilities. Lebanon’s bond repayments are rolled into the monthly MoPEP bill, and your bills as customers.”
— Katie Hilton, Lebanon Daily Record
link to article
The Prairie State Energy Campus in Washington County, Illinois.
WASHINGTON CO, IL — “The first of two 800-megawatt power generators went online Wednesday at the Prairie State Energy Campus in rural Washington County.
Spokeswoman Ashlie Kuehn said the owners of the $4 billion power plant officially assumed custody of Unit 1 Wednesday from construction contractor Bechtel Power. The second unit is expected to move into commercial operation by the end of this year. The entire power plant is scheduled to be completed by next year.
Kuehn said the Prairie State will begin scheduling and selling power on the energy markets on behalf of the plant’s nine owners — St. Louis-based Peabody Energy and eight nonprofit municipal power companies and rural electric cooperatives located throughout the Midwest.
“It’s a big day around here,” Kuehn said.”
— Will Buss, Belleville News-Democrat
link to article