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Illinois Coal Plants: Midwest Generation, After Closing Chicago Plants, May Abandon State (VIDEO)

Illinois Coal Plants Midwest Generation

First Posted: 03/ 5/2012 1:23 pm Updated: 03/ 5/2012 1:23 pm

On the heels of news that its two Chicago coal-fired plants will close in the near future, Midwest Generation is reportedly considering closing each of its four other Illinois plants -- which could lead to more than 1,000 job losses and increased power prices.

Crain's Chicago Business reported Friday that the Rosemead, Calif.-based company will decide this summer whether it will shutter plants in Waukegan, Romeoville, Joliet and Pekin. The company's plants, coupled with the two Chicago plants set to close by the end of 2014, are altogether the state's second-largest power generator.

(Scroll down to watch a report on the rumored closings.)

The Waukegan plant -- which employs 160 people -- is already slated for closure by 2014.

Midwest Generation, which reportedly lost $270 million in 2011, announced last week that it had agreed to close its Fisk generating station in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood by the end of the year. It will also close its Crawford plant in Little Village by the end of 2014. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel had previously warned that the plants needed to clean up their polluting practices or risk being shut down by the city.

The mayor called Midwest's announcement "an important and appropriate decision" in a statement.

The Chicago plants' closures will make an undeniably positive impact on the air quality in the neighborhoods that surround them -- the plants are the city's two biggest industrial sources of pollution, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. But as Chicago News Cooperative pointed out last month, the closing of such plants carry with them the risk of negative economic impacts.

"It's not a good thing for the city economically, but at the same time the air we breathe will be a little cleaner -- what's that worth financially?” Mayor Thomas M. McDermott Jr. of Hammond, Ind., home to Dominion Resources' State Line Power Station, which is set to close this month, told the News Cooperative.

But the plants' continued operation also carries negative economic impacts for those who live near them.

As Fox News reports, residents of the two largely Latino neighborhoods located near the two closing Chicago plants filed suit last month against Midwest Generation because they blame the pollution the plants emit for reducing area property values.

WATCH a report on the rumored Illinois coal plant closings:

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Filed by Joseph Erbentraut  |