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posted: 9/1/2014 1:01 AM

Energy company is making strides

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NRG Energy and its president, David Crane, recently decided, after being convinced by local Waukegan residents (over 3,000 petitions), community groups (15 or so) and government officials (city, county, state, federal) that they should "clean up their act" by installing "scrubbers" on their 80-year-old coal-fired power plant smokestacks.

Yay. That's a good thing.

Less asthma-producing pollution from the Wisconsin border to Lake Forest. Not entirely eliminated, of course, just less pollution.

Of course, the people who live, work and play outside of these boundaries can still breathe easy. Adding a scrubber doesn't affect them. Inside the zone, breathing will still be difficult.

Since I live in Libertyville, but work a lot in Waukegan, I don't have to use my inhaler as much as before. Thank you.

What the local people wanted was to have the coal-fired power plant:

1) Retired (too much air/water/soil pollution). NRG Energy decided to delay the inevitable retirement (might as well burn buggy whips or whale oil instead of dirty coal). Boo.

2) Redeveloped into a clean site. NRG Energy decided to do nothing about cleaning up their coal ash toxic wasteland (a few hundred feet from Lake Michigan). Boo.

The people also hoped to see job retraining of their IBEW electrical workers into forward-thinking industries (like building solar arrays). NRG Energy decided, I am told, to actually retrain some of their workers to learn about solar and wind renewable energy production. Thank you.

NRG Energy has also decided to invest $3 million for a solar energy project of some kind in Waukegan. Thank you.

The company is nationally known for their renewable energy innovations. So, why didn't they create innovation in Waukegan? I'd like to know.

Joseph Dubaniewicz