President and CEO
NRG Energy, Inc.
910 Louisiana Street
Houston, TX 77002
Dear Mr. Gutierrez,
As federal and state representatives for the people living in and around Waukegan, IL, we write on behalf of our constituents’ concerns about the long-term impact of the NRG coal plant on the surrounding community. With the understanding that NRG plans to close the Waukegan plant by June 2022, we are asking for assurances that NRG will comply with applicable federal and state law and will take corrective action necessary to address any existing contamination that poses a threat to public health.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established regulatory criteria under Subtitle D of the Resource Conservation Recovery Act that governs NRG’s responsibilities for the closure and post-closure of surface impoundments like its coal ash ponds, such as monitoring groundwater for contamination. We understand that, in 2019, the Illinois Pollution Control Board found NRG liable for groundwater contamination attributed to its operations at the Waukegan facility. Therefore, it is essential for NRG to comply with applicable federal and state environmental requirements leading up to and after closure of the Waukegan plant to ensure the community is not at risk.
Under Illinois’ new coal ash pond regulations, NRG is subject to stringent requirements intended to protect public health and the environment, which includes involving the community in the upcoming closure process. As you know, this includes hosting at least two public meetings with affected communities to discuss your plans for comprehensively addressing public health and environmental concerns associated with the closure. The Illinois regulations also require NRG to develop a long-term closure plan for preventing and remediating contaminant migration from the site, of particular concern to the community given the ongoing impacts to groundwater.
We respectfully request you keep us and the local community updated as you develop and seek state approval for your closure plans. It is imperative that NRG be forthright and transparent with the local community on how it will ensure both public health and the environment are protected. In addition to being legally mandated, it is critical that NRG listen to and consider the community concerns throughout this process.