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posted: 11/3/2013 6:00 AM

Waukegan's future best without coal plant

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The bankrupt parent of Midwest Generation recently announced that it expects to close a deal with New Jersey-based NRG Energy Inc. by the first quarter of 2014. This raises even more uncertainty about the future of "the power plant down past Bowen Park."

It also means Waukegan is likely to continue to suffer air and water pollution that is detrimental to all of its citizens. As the largest polluter in Lake County, the coal plant is a burden to the health of the community, and especially to the health of our children.

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The plant does contribute $1 million per year in taxes to Waukegan. However, the estimated health costs associated with pollution from the Waukegan plant are $86 million per year, according to a report issued by the National Research Council in 2010.

I am a lifelong resident of Waukegan, and I ask my fellow Waukeganites to join in making Waukegan a healthier community. Please ask local leaders to address these issues with all of the stakeholders to create a rational exit plan that ensures a just transition for both the site and the workers.

Ultimately, I believe a future without this coal plant is in the best interest of our community.

David Villalobos

Waukegan

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