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Romeoville OKs Enterprise Zone for Midwest Gen

The company is seeking to have its Romeoville and Joliet stations included in the River Valley Enterprise Zone so it can qualify for state tax breaks.

The Romeoville Village Board approved enterprise zone status Wednesday for Midwest Generation, qualifying the company to receive state tax breaks needed for its $100 million environmental compliance project.

Romeoville trustees signed off on an amendment that would add the Will County Generating Station in unincorporated Romeoville and the Joliet Generating Station to the the Des Plaines River Valley Enterprise Zone.

Several other governments, including Will County, have taken the same action to assist the coal-fuel energy plants, officials said.

By being part of the zone, the company will be eligible for a state sales tax credit on building and pollution control materials and a state investment tax credit for the state-mandated environmental controls it needs to install, said Scott Perry, a Midwest Generation station director.

The company plans to start work in 2014/2015 on ways to control its sulfur dioxide pollutions, Perry said. The project should take about three years and create about 100 new jobs, he said.

Since 1999, Midwest Generation has installed equipment to reduce mercury and nitrogen oxide emissions. For the two plants combined, mercury emissions have been reduced by 95 percent and nitrogen oxide emissions by 85 percent, according to the company.

Midwest Generation has reduced its sulfur dioxide emissions from the plants by 60 percent but is currently planning a $100 million project to comply with the state’s regulations.

In December, Midwest Generation filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, but said it intends to continue operating the plants while in bankruptcy, according to Crain’s Chicago Business.

All the tax incentives come from the state, and no local tax incentives are given, Romeoville Mayor John Noak said.

“The more they put into the renovation, the more people go to work,” Trustee Jose Chavez said.

The Des Plaines River Valley Enterprise Zone board has a final say over granting Midwest Generation enterprise zone status. The Des Plaines River Valley Enterprise Zone includes Will County as well as Joliet, Lockport, Rockdale and Romeoville.

A representative from the Will County Building Trades Council endorsed the environmental project on Wednesday.

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