After a six year legal battle the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and Respiratory Health Association were awarded an $8.6 million settlement from the Edwards Power Plant. The settlement stems from a lawsuit citing Clean Air Act violations by the plant in Bartonville.
Tuesday evening at the Peoria Public Library each group including the NAACP of Peoria, Central Illinois Healthy Community Alliance, and Illinois People's Action held a public forum. The Request for Proposal took place in two sessions at 4:00 and 6:00 PM.
Tracy Fox with the Central Illinois Healthy Community Alliance said they are looking for "Innovative projects that maybe could be replicated in the future if additional funding were available."
The money will be split into two funding groups. $1.72 million will be used for training purposes, whether it's programs for displaced workers to learn a new trade or training for younger generations to learn sustainable science. $6.88 million will be used for a combination of environmental purposes including lung health, low income energy efficiency, solar projects, and electric buses.
Long time Peoria resident Mark Pendleton thinks the settlement was too low. "I think they should be paying out a lot more than $8.6 million," he said. Adding, "I know some people who had cancer and are no longer here. Even me myself I have sinus problems. And I believe it's from breathing in the toxic fumes or air coming from the coal fire plants."
Pendleton said he grew up on the South Side of Peoria, but moved away several times before coming back for good. He said when you go to other cities, you can tell that the air in Peoria isn't clean, especially on the South Side close to Bartonville.
"It made an impact on people. The air we breathe and the water we drink. Because let's face it, when you burn coal there's ash. And there's some nasty things in it."Mark Pendleton
The settlement only involves the three plaintiffs, Sierra Club, NRDC, and Respiratory Health Association. So others with claims against the plant are able to file claims if they desire.
They are accepting applications from 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, local government agencies, and education entities. Applications are due at 5:00 PM on January 13th and must be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information you can access the guidelines at edwardscleanairsettlement.org.