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End of the Line for State Line: Coal Plant Set to Close

By JoshMogerman in News on Nov 21, 2010 9:00PM

Entrance to State Line Power Station with the obelisk marking the Indiana-Illinois border in front [State Line by reallyboring via Flickr]
The announcement that an Indiana coal plant will be closing is particularly good news for Chicagoans. As we have reported before, while the State Line Generating Station is technically in the Hoosier state, you have to drive through the South Side to get to it. That unusual location quirk has helped the Prohibition-era plant avoid some regulatory scrutiny in the past, but changing federal regulations and enforcement have caught up with the filthy facility. Coal giant Dominion announced that they would shutter State Line and a Massachusetts plant between 2014 and 2017 rather than live up to new federal requirements that would have forced them to install modern pollution controls to protect the lungs and skies over nearby neighborhoods.

“If that rule goes into effect, we do not plan to install expensive environmental controls at either of those two stations," Dominion spokesman Dan Genest told Reuters.

It had already been a rough year for the plant, with a coalition of local environmentalists suing to force State Line to clean up or close down and the Trib's brutal evaluation of pollution impacts on the region.

State Line was the third plant in the area built by one of Chicago’s forgotten giants---Sam Insull, the creator of ComEd who used his trio of local coal plants (State Line came after Chicago’s Fisk and Crawford Generating Stations) to help create the concept of the electric grid in the City. All three plants now sell power onto the wholesale market rather than powering the communities that surround them. As State Line smolders into the sunset, the pressure to clean up or close down will likely increase on Insull’s other leftovers, as support grows for Chicago’s Clean Power Ordinance.