Second coal-to-gas bill passes Illinois House

By Julie Wernau
Posted Jan. 7 at 3:35 p.m.

The Illinois House backed a controversial bill Friday that would help Power Holdings of Illinois move forward with a plant slated for Jefferson County that would turn coal into synthetic natural gas.

The bill, SB1927, is the second bill related to synthetic natural gas to move forward in the lame duck session and must pass the senate next week for the governor to sign it into law.

Representatives voted 82 to 31 to pass the bill, which would force state gas utilities to purchase 100 percent of the gas the plant would produce for 10 years: a last-minute amendment to a bill aimed at protecting patients against abuse and neglect.

“How ironic that big coal hijacked a bill aimed at protecting our health to give us more pollution,” said Jack Darin, director of the Sierra Club, Illinois Chapter, which opposes the bill.

On Wednesday, the state legislature gave final approval to a similar bill, SB3388. The bill aids New York-based Leucadia National Corp. by locking utilities into 30-year-contracts to purchase synthetic gas from a $3 billion synthetic gas plant the corporation has proposed for Southeast Chicago.

The governor has not said if he plans to sign the bill.

Critics of the two bills have said the legislature is saddling ratepayers with higher gas prices and added pollution in order to aid two corporations. Proponents of both bills say the plants would create jobs and make use of in-state coal to aid the economy.

If the bills are signed into law, together both plants would supply nearly a quarter of gas used to heat homes in Illinois.

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One comment:

  1. Jim Jan. 7 at 4:46 pm

    Hey Mr. Tribune Editor, How come Illinois doesn’t have any trouble passing any legislation regarding “coal”? There are maybe a couple hundred coal miners in Illinois, and they probably don’t have much political say, so who is interested in selling coal? How much money are the pols getting from coal mining companies? I’m thinking quite a bit!