By Francesco Turso
Governor Pat Quinn, of Illinois, has vetoed two bills that would have allowed construction of two coal gasification plants in Illinois; one on Chicago’s southeast side and another in Jefferson County in southern Illinois. According to CBS, the decision disappointed Illinois Coal Association President Phil Gonet. He says that the two plants would have eventually created roughly 500 full time jobs.
Gonet goes on to say that “Illinois sits on about 200 billion tons of coal, which could power the entire country for more than 100 years.” He believes that coal must play a role in the state’s future energy needs.
David Kolata, of the Citizens Utility Board, applauds the governor’s decision, speaking to CBS. “It [the bill] essentially locked in supply for natural gas consumers from these two plants, with a long term contract that were significantly above where current market prices are.” He also believes that both bills did not provide enough consumer protection.
“Our investments in clean coal must not come at the expense of consumers,” said Quinn to The Chicago Tribune, siding with environmental and community groups. State Representative Marlow Colvin, D-Chicago, who sponsored the Leucadia bill, said he is hopeful that a revised version would meet with the governor’s approval at a later date.
Coal gasification is not a new process and as been used in the past to fuel streetlights as well as stoves. In 1850 many towns and cities had a gas plant to provide for street lighting. The US National Academy of Sciences claims that “Liquid fuels from biomass and coal have the potential to reduce the use of petroleum fuels and CO2 emissions from the US transportation sector over the next 25 years.”