Panel adds extra layer of testing to rules for peaker power plants

By AMY E. WILLIAMS, Daily Herald Staff Writer

Oct. 31, 2000 (Chicago Daily Herald)—Before finalizing their list of regulations for peaker power plants, committee members crafting the rules had one last concern Friday.

The committee, made up of county board members, wants to ensure the county’s air quality does not suffer if peaker power plants are built.

Before peaker power plant developers can apply to build in McHenry County, the county requires them to secure permits from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, which monitors the amount of emissions the plants can produce.

But Friday, committee members agreed to add another layer of protection to ensure county residents are not polluted by peakers.

They want peaker operators to hire an independent agency to frequently check emissions, making sure they don’t rise above EPA- approved levels.

“At the county level, we want the operator to have outside testing done during the time it’s operating,” committee member Marc Munaretto of Algonquin said. “That’s just another level to ensure the EPA permit is complied with.”

Many peaker plant objectors have raised fears that once operators have their EPA permit, they’ll feel free to emit more pollutants.

But with the continuous testing, the county will make sure that does not happen, committee members said.

The proposed regulation for additional testing now will be included in a long list of regulations heading to the county board for a vote Oct. 17.

Committee Chairwoman Donna Schaefer says she’s sure most of the regulations, which the committee has spent the past four months crafting, will be discussed at length again at the board level.

The county must approve the regulations before Oct. 18, when a board-imposed moratorium on all new peaker power plant applications expires.

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