Take Action TODAY! Chicago doesn’t need another polluting coal plant…

No more dirty coal in Chicago!

Just a few short months of ago, we all celebrated in the grassroots victory of the announcements of retirements of Chicago’s Fisk and Crawford Coal Plants.  But SB 3776, a last-minute attempt to pass legislation that would bring a coal-gasification plant to Chicago, passed both the Illinois House and Senate this past week.  Unless this project is stopped by Governor Quinn, Leucadia, an out-of-state company, has an easy 1,2,3 get-rich-quick scheme, which will:

1.  Build a new coal plant on Chicago’s Southeast side.
2.  Use an energy-consumptive process to manufacture synthetic natural gas from dirty coal.
3.  Cut a sweetheart deal with legislators that forces Illinois consumers to buy that gas at elevated prices.

The plant would use a gasification process that mixes Illinois coal and petroleum coke to produce synthetic natural gas (SNG) that would be sold to Illinois gas utilities. The measure would force customers of Nicor Gas and Ameren Illinois to pay 95 percent of the cost to build and operate a $3 billion coal-to-gas plant proposed by Leucadia National Corp. for the Southeast Side of Chicago. Nicor Gas and Ameren Illinois customers would be billed for the plant’s gas for 30 years through their utility bills, and the plant’s gas is estimated to cost three to four times the current price of natural gas.

In addition to increased prices for consumers, there are environmental impacts associated with the use of these fuels, despite the fact that Leucadia would be required to capture or sequester 85% of its carbon emissions or face substantial fines.  Details on how the company would handle expected pollution and associated environmental impacts are not known.  Concerns include:

  1. Petroleum coke is a toxic waste from refining tar sands.  Mining tar sands is one of the most devastating environmental practices on the planet.
  2. The gases and dusts found in vicinity of coke piles are toxic, and can cause genetic damage, suppressed immune systems, central nervous system damage and damage to vital organs.
  3. The plant is expected to pull millions of gallons of water per day from the Calumet River.
  4. The use of coal encourages coal mining.  Current practices of longwall and strip mining in Illinois have devastating environmental impacts to land, water and communities.

Will you call Governor Quinn at 312-814-2121 and ask him to veto SB 3766?  Illinois can do better!  We should be increasing our renewable energy portfolio to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, creating clean energy jobs in the process.

Because of your hard work, we’ve scored some huge victories for Illinois in the last few months. We can’t afford to let up now!

Most sincerely,

Pam and Lan Richart
Eco-Justice Collaborative

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SAMPLE SCRIPT:

My name is______________ I urge Governor Quinn to veto SB 3766 or any measures that would bring a goal gasification plant to Chicago. The city of Chicago does not need another polluting coal plant and Ameren and Nicor customers shouldn’t have to pay for it. There are better alternatives, such as wind and solar that can provide the power we need while creating much-needed jobs.


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