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Electric utility Ameren Corp. on Tuesday said it will close its Rush Island power plant in Jefferson County by 2024 — 15 years early — rather than install expensive pollution controls.

Ameren’s announcement comes a decade after the U.S. filed suit against the region’s power supplier and more than four years after a federal judge found the utility had violated the Clean Air Act by boosting Rush Island’s power output through “major modifications” while failing to obtain the necessary permits and install pollution controls.

But the company was stuck between a rock and a hard place. Legal alternatives had dwindled. Experts were urging Ameren to close the plant. And installing the equipment, called scrubbers, to clean up Rush Island’s pollution, were estimated to cost up to $1 billion.

“The decision to accelerate the retirement of the Rush Island Energy Center comes after carefully considering our legal, operational, and regulatory alternatives, as well as the impact on customer costs and system reliability,” Ameren Missouri Chairman and President Marty Lyons said on Tuesday in a statement.

[Jacob Barker and Robert Patrick]

More: Ameren to shutter Rush Island coal plant 15 years earlier than planned

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