CHICAGO

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

03/05/2012 01:23 pm ET

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.

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.

WATCH a report on the rumored Illinois coal plant closings:

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