Data indicates 4 remaining coal plants among worst polluters

File photo.

CHICAGO, Ill. – Federal data indicates that four Vistra Energy coal plants still operating in Illinois were responsible for more than 80% of the sulfur dioxide that the power company emitted in the state last year.

A Chicago Tribune analysis of federal data indicates those plants also released about 60% of Vistra’s carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions in Illinois.

The Texas-based company brokered a deal with Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Wednesday to shutter four downstate power plants but to keep the four worst polluters operating.

Environmental activists say three of them are so old that they’re exempt from most pollution control requirements. Critics say local residents will continue to be exposed to pollution levels that would be illegal if they were built today.

The company employs about 1,000 people in Illinois.

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