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Texas Company Intends To Retire Two Ohio Coal Plants by 2027

Coal stockpiled at a power plant.
Reid Frazier
The Allegheny Front
Coal stockpiled at a power plant.

The Vistra energy company has announced it intends to retire all of its coal-fired electricity power stations in Illinois and Ohio by 2027 — including two of its plants near Cincinnati.

The Miami Fortand Zimmer plants are in the towns of North Bend and Moscow respectively, along the Ohio River. They generate electricity for the PJM power grid — which provides the power for Ohio and much of the Mid-Atlantic. Coal has been economically challenged in recent years, and Vistra, which is based in Texas, says they are also making a big corporate push into renewable energy.

Rachael Belz is the Executive Director of Ohio Citizen Action, the largest consumer and environmental organization in the state. She says her organization is looking how the communities affected by the plant closures can have a just transition away from coal.

“Any of the plants that have closed in Ohio have not had any kind of discussion about the community, school districts, for instance, taxes, workers, anything." She said, "We need to pioneer a way to involve many more people who are harmed when this happens, even though closing plants that are both uneconomical and highly polluting is a good thing, ultimately.”

Belz says the closure of the plants will result in decreased levels of particulate matter air pollution across Southwest Ohio.

Environmental reporter Chris Welter is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.

Chris Welter is the Managing Editor at The Eichelberger Center for Community Voices at WYSO.

Chris got his start in radio in 2017 when he completed a six-month training at the Center for Community Voices. Most recently, he worked as a substitute host and the Environment Reporter at WYSO.