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Ameren Disputes Environmentalists' Claims

By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis, MO. – Several Illinois environmental groups are pressuring the Ameren Corporation to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

Rebecca Stanfield with the Illinois Public Research Interest Group says among electric power companies, Ameren is the nation's seventh largest emitter of carbon dioxide.

The company says it's trying to reduce emissions by experimenting with renewable fuels and storing carbon dioxide in old coal and oil fields.

But Stanfield says there's been little investment in that idea.

"We need to make sure it's not going to be just a temporary solution, or we're not going to be pumping carbon into the ground only to have it leak back out into the atmosphere," Stanfield.

The coalition claims Ameren is lobbying Congress to take a hands-off approach to emissions reduction.

However, the company insists it is addressing the issue by looking at increasing fuel efficiency and expanding renewable energy usage.

Senior vice-president Daniel Cole says Ameren is working with the University of Illinois on a way to minimize the hazards of carbon dioxide by storing it underground.

"They are interested in figuring out if there's a way that you can take this carbon dioxide and actually pump it back into old oilfields and old coalfields," Cole said.

Ameren plans to spend more than a billion dollars over the next 10 years to comply with new federal clean air regulations announced in March.


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