January 12, 2011

Tenaska coal plant loses support, fails to pass

A bill for the Tenaska dirty coal plant proposed in Taylorville came up in the Senate again very late Tuesday night. It failed, getting seven fewer votes than last time, with 18 in favor, 33 against, and 4 not voting.

Tenaska representatives claimed they may abandon the project if their bill didn't pass before the Senate adjourns this month. I'll wait for an announcement from the company to learn whether it was an idle threat.

Unfortunately, two bills supporting coal pork projects did pass the legislature during veto session. First, was the Leucadia project which would turn coal and hazardous oil refinery waste into natural gas for home heating. Illinois Sierra Club Director Jack Darin points out in his blog that, unlike Tenaska, the Leucadia plant provides no protection from rate hikes for residential customers. Illinois home owners and apartment renters will be expected to pay more for a dirty energy project we don't need.

The legislature also revived a project many thought was dead, the Power Holdings coal SynGas plant proposed near Mt. Vernon. The bill will force ratepayers into fixed contracts far above market prices. Once again, this special help isn't for a real clean energy project. The Power Holdings plant would be a major new source of pollution, including CO2.
Sierra Club
Environmental groups are asking Governor Quinn to veto bills for the Leucadia and Power Holdings dirty energy plants.