Quinn Announces Illinois Coal Exports Set Record in 2012
Contributing to Climate Change and Harming Illinois Communities
Coal mining in Illinois is on the rise, making it the fifth largest producer in the nation. Illinois’ abundant high-sulphur coal saw record demand oversees last year, according to according to a new report commissioned by the Illinois Office of Coal Development that was released Wednesday, May 2, 2013.
The study, prepared by Energy Ventures Analysis Inc., found that 13 million tons of Illinois coal was exported in 2012 to be burned in18 or more countries. That’s a fivefold increase from the 2.5 million tons shipped out of the U.S. in 2010.
Coal mining pollutes our water, destroys our farmland and displaces once cohesive farming communities. And coal-fired power plants are one of the lead causes of climate change. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, world coal consumption, in part due to U.S. coal exports, will keep coal-fired plants as the lead source of CO2 emissions.
The Associated Press reports on May 1, 2013:
“Rising four spots since 2009 to become the nation’s fifth-biggest coal-producing state, Illinois last year churned out 47.2 million tons of the natural resource, up 25 percent from 37.8 million tons the previous year. That surge came as U.S. coal production slumped 11 percent overall, as stubbornly soft demand — partly because U.S. electric utilities switched to cheaper natural gas as their fuel source — drove down coal prices and consumption.
Illinois officials attribute the increase in overseas demand for the state’s coal to its wealth of it from its place in the resource-rich Illinois Basin, which also includes portions of Indiana and Kentucky. Illinois has the nation’s biggest reserves of coal used in electricity generation and to heat large boilers and industrial furnaces, Wednesday’s report noted.
Illinois’ proximity to key shipping routes such as the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to get the coal to the Gulf of Mexico, along with coal producers’ easy access to Illinois highways and rail lines, give the state “a unique export advantage over other states in the region,” Gov. Pat Quinn said in a statement.”
Protect Illinois Communities
Take Action Now!
The Governor’s office needs to hear from you – whether by email, post or phone. Please take a moment to remind the Governor that this increase in coal exports comes at a huge expense to our climate and Illinois communities:
- Coal-fired plants are one of the leading causes of climate change. Illinois coal exports contribute to world coal consumption, ensuring coal-fired plants will remain the lead source of CO2 emissions.
- New surface and underground mines threaten the state’s agricultural communities by destroying and subsiding prime farmland.
- Coal mines pollute our rivers and streams with impunity, racking up hundreds of pollution violations while our state agencies rubber stamp new permits.
- “Jobless” coal boom – Illinois exported 5 times as much coal in 2012 as in 2010, but mining jobs only increased by 14% (~3,500 to 4,000 miners) – the fact remains, coal mining is an insignificant part of the state’s economy, so why is DCEO bending over backwards to please the industry?
- Studies consistently find that renewable energy creates more jobs than producing electricity from fossil fuels.
- Digging coal is digging Illinois even deeper into debt as the coal industry raids our mineral wealth without sending so much as a cent back to the state in severance or sales taxes, which all neighboring coal producing states collect.
Office of the Governor
207 State House
Springfield, IL 62706