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City, Sierra Club can't agree; council meeting canceled  

A special meeting of the Springfield City Council was canceled Tuesday after lawyers for the Sierra Club and the city could not decide on details of their latest agreement in time for the meeting.

Ward 2 Ald. Frank McNeil, chairman of the utilities committee, wanted more time to review the agreement, said city council coordinator Joe Davis.

Lawyers for both sides were tweaking the language in Chicago, and the agreement was not completed until about 4:05 p.m., said City Water, Light and Power spokesman Ray Serati. The meeting was scheduled to start about 5:15 p.m.

The deal should be available for aldermen and the public to see today, Serati said.

The special meeting to vote on the agreement is now set for 5 p.m. Thursday, according to a release by City Clerk Cecilia Tumulty.

Mayor Tim Davlin had said after the mayor’s annual prayer breakfast Tuesday that he expected the agreement to be voted upon by aldermen later in the day. Davlin still expects that approval of the pact will lead to the Sierra Club dropping all objections to the city’s planned 200-megawatt, coal-fired generator, clearing the way for construction to begin.

But Sierra Club officials have said they also want the city first to sign a wind power purchase contract with a wind farm. The purchase of wind power is a key de- mand of the Sierra Club. It is unclear when that might happen, although CWLP is reviewing at least eight proposals from wind farms.

Under the ordinance to be taken up at Thursday’s special meeting, the city would sign a deal with the environmental organization that requires Springfield to ask the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to monitor stricter emission limits for CWLP that were approved by aldermen last week.

Davlin and CWLP general manager Todd Renfrow have downplayed the significance of that, saying the IEPA would monitor emissions regardless of the agreement.

The Sierra Club originally wanted the stricter emissions limits to be part of CWLP’s construction permit so that the IEPA would be empowered to enforce them. That evidently will not happen under the deal negotiated by Renfrow.

The monitoring would start after the generator is operational, probably in 2010 or 2011, and would result in no changes to the city’s permit.

Staff Writer Chris Wetterich can be reached at 788-1523 or chris.wetterich@sj-r.com.


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