The Prairie State Coal Plant in Marissa, Illinois was developed by Peabody Energy, but then sold off to hundreds of towns across the Midwest. In Missouri, there are over forty towns that own pieces of Prairie State through the Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission (MJMEUC). Many towns are now facing huge financial and environmental risks because of their ownership of Prairie State.
Columbia, MO, for instance, effectively incurred $219 million in debt with its Prairie State contract. Thinking that they would receive reliable, low-cost power, Columbia purchased a 50 MW share of the plant--one full quarter of Missouri's purchase amount--trying to secure cheap, reliable energy. But because prices are so far above the market and above other energy sources in Columbia's portfolio, it is estimated that the city will lose approximately $56 million from 2012 through 2015 because of Prairie State.
MORE has been active in advocating for Missouri towns bought into Prairie State and in holding Peabody Energy accountable. Missouri towns bought in include: Hannibal, Kahoka, Columbia, Centralia, Fulton, Kirkwood and many other towns through MoPEP. Marceline, Missouri, pulled out of its purchase agreement in 2013 because their Prairie State bills had plunged the town into fiscal crisis.
For more information, check out www.PrairieStateCoalPlant.org.