Ameren said today it will close two of its coal and oil plants in Illinois by the end of the year and lay off 90 people because of new costly pollution regulations.

The Meredosia and Hutsonville plants are part of Ameren Energy Generating Co.  , an Ameren subsidiary that invested $27 million in the plants as of June 30.

Severance and closure costs are still being determined, Ameren said.

“We are working to provide alternative employment opportunities and reassignments within (Ameren Energy Generating) for many of the 22 management and 68 union-represented employees affected by these decisions,” said Steven Sullivan, president and chief executive of Ameren Energy Generating. “It is my sincere hope that any employee desiring a reassignment opportunity can be accommodated.”

Positions affected include 14 management and 39 union-represented employees at Meredosia Energy Center and eight management and 29 union-represented employees at Hutsonville Energy Center.

Ameren had wanted to sell some of its coal-fired plants in Illinois.

Ameren said it had to close the facilities because it couldn’t afford to comply with cross-state air pollution rules the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The regulations require reductions in sulfur dioxide by 73 percent and nitrogen oxide by 54 percent from 2005 levels.

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