Local leaders join fight to keep Cordova nuclear plant open

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Local leaders have pledged their support in the fight to keep the Quad Cities' nuclear power plant open.

On Monday, August 17, 2015, the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce held a meeting between Exelon officials, state lawmakers, school and labor leaders.

Exelon representatives have said the plant in Cordova, Illinois, is among three in danger of shutting down.

"It's become apparent now that we have to make what could possibly be some very difficult decisions before the end of this year relative to the long-term operation of the station," said Bill Stoermer, communications manager for the Quad Cities Generating Station.

Stoermer said the company is waiting on two things to make its decision. First, Exelon needs to come out on top in a series of auctions, where the plant will bid to supply power to a major energy grid.

The results of the first auction are expected on Friday.

"It's essential that we clear that auction. If we don't clear it, it's essential that we get the legislation or some form of the legislation passed in Springfield before the end of this year," said Stoermer.

That legislation, known as the Low Carbon Portfolio Standard, is the second factor. The bill would give Exelon a boost by adding about $2 each month to homeowners' utility bills.

Critics, though, have called it a bailout for the company.

"We really don't see it as as bailout. We really see it as a way to equalize the market and equalize our ability to bid into the market," said Stoermer.

So far, the proposal has failed to make it out of committee. Illinois Rep. Pat Verschoore said legislators' attention has been on reaching a state budget agreement.

Supporters of the plant, though, are hoping increased pressure may inspire lawmakers to act.

"The leadership responds when there is a call for action, and so, we're going to be part of that call for action," said Paul Rumler, chief economic development officer for the Quad Cities Chamber.

Stoermer said Exelon's decision on shutdowns may be delayed if the legislation appears to be making any movement.

No shutdown would take place until at least 2017.

Nearly 800 people work at the Cordova nuclear plant.