The Illinois-based generating subsidiaries of Ameren Corporation (NYSE: AEE) and the Blagojevich Administration today announce an agreement that will significantly reduce mercury emissions beginning in 2009.
The proposal filed with the Illinois Pollution Control Board will also substantially reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 2012 and sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions by 2015 and presents an approach to multi-pollutant emission reduction that will serve as a model nationally.
"We believe this agreement is a balanced solution that provides significant reductions of emissions as well as the best opportunity to preserve Illinois jobs at our generating plants," says Thomas R. Voss, Ameren executive vice president and chief operating officer. "This announcement supports Ameren's ongoing commitment to controlling emissions. It also builds on the tremendous success we have already had in reducing emissions at our plants."
"At Illinois EPA, we have appreciated Ameren's proactive efforts to reduce emissions at its plants," says Doug Scott, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency director. "We believe that the company's constructive and cooperative approach will benefit Illinois' air quality and the health of its citizens."
Under the proposed agreement, which is subject to approval by the Illinois Pollution Control Board, Ameren subsidiaries' Illinois coal-fired generating facilities will install a significant amount of additional NOx and SO2 controls, to continually reduce NOx and SO2 emissions.
Ameren's commitment to installing this equipment accelerates the company's emission reduction compliance program to a level well ahead of that required by federal standards set in 2005. The proposal calls for new equipment to be installed at the Coffeen, Duck Creek, Edwards, Hutsonville, Meredosia and Newton Power Stations in Illinois\-all owned by Ameren generation subsidiaries.
The commitment also includes installation of new equipment at the Electric Energy, Inc., plant in Joppa, Ill. Ameren subsidiaries own 80 percent of Electric Energy, Inc.
The Ameren companies have always been leaders in reducing emissions from its power plants and in testing emerging technologies even before the federal Clean Air Act was passed. Today's announcement only furthers the companies' goal to continue to push to do better.
Today's agreement comes after months of constructive discussion between Ameren officials and the Blagojevich Administration. Those discussions were prompted by Governor Blagojevich's push to aggressively reduce mercury emissions at power plants in the state on behalf of Illinois citizens.
Ameren's Vice President for Environmental, Safety and Health Mike Menne adds that the company fully supports the goal of reducing mercury emissions in ways that are technically feasible and economically reasonable. "We hope to build upon the extensive research we have done and continue to do at our coal- fired generating facilities," says Menne.
Getting to the next level of emission reductions will require significant investment of capital and intellectual resources. Ameren has previously disclosed that it preliminarily estimated capital expenditures of $1.0 billion to $1.4 billion by 2016 to comply with new federal regulations related to emissions reductions in Illinois. The proposed agreement with Illinois will add to that total by a projected $600 million, the majority of which is an acceleration of emission-related capital expenditures that would have been spent beyond 2016.
Through its operating companies, St. Louis-based Ameren Corporation serves 2.4 million electric customers and about 1 million natural gas customers in a 64,000-square-mile area of Missouri and Illinois.
Statements in this release not based on historical facts are considered "forward-looking" and, accordingly, involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed. Although such forward-looking statements have been made in good faith and are based on reasonable assumptions, there is no assurance that the expected results will be achieved. These statements include (without limitation) statements as to future expectations, beliefs, plans, strategies, objectives, events, conditions, and financial performance. In connection with the "safe harbor" provi?sions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, we are providing this cautionary statement to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated. The following factors, in addition to those discussed elsewhere in this release and in our filings with the SEC, could cause actual results to differ materially from management expectations as suggested by such forward-looking statements:
• regulatory actions, including changes in regulatory policies and ratemaking determinations;
• changes in laws and other governmental actions, including monetary and fiscal policies;
• the availability of fuel such as coal, natural gas and enriched uranium used to produce electricity; the availability of purchased power and natural gas for distribution; and the level and volatility of future market prices for such commodities, including the ability to recover the costs for such commodities;
• the effectiveness of our risk management strategies and the use of financial and derivative instruments;
• prices for power in the Midwest;
• business and economic conditions, including their impact on interest rates;
• disruptions of the capital markets or other events that make access to necessary capital more difficult or costly;
• the impact of the adoption of new accounting standards and the application of appropriate technical accounting rules and guidance;
• actions of credit rating agencies and the effects of such actions;
• weather conditions and other natural phenomena;
• generation plant construction, installation and performance;
• the impact of current environmental regulations on utilities and power generating companies and the expectation that more stringent requirements will be introduced over time, which could have a negative financial effect;
• labor disputes and future wage and employee benefits costs, including changes in returns on benefit plan assets;
• the inability of our counterparties to meet their obligations with respect to contracts and financial instruments;
• the cost and availability of transmission capacity for the energy generated by Ameren generating facilities or required to satisfy energy sales; • legal and administrative proceedings; and
• acts of sabotage, war, terrorism or intentionally disruptive acts.
Given these uncertainties, undue reliance should not be placed on these forward- looking statements. Except to the extent required by the federal securities laws, we undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward- looking statements to reflect new information, future events, or otherwise.
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