State Senator Sam McCann (R-Plainview) and Representative C.D. Davidsmeyer (R-Jacksonville) joined with a bipartisan group of lawmakers to voice their support for an innovative plan aimed at reviving Illinois’ coal industry.
“Talks are heating up for a new state energy package, and we need to make sure coal remains a part of these talks,” said Sen. McCann. “Clean coal represents a chance to grow jobs at home while producing reliable electricity.”
The proposed Illinois Energy and Environmental Security Act requires Illinois utilities to have purchasing agreements with clean-coal burning facilities, with a goal of those agreements representing at least 40 percent of their retail customer load starting in 2020. It also authorizes the Illinois Commerce Commission to devise a way to pay for “scrubbers” that allow Illinois coal-fired power plants to burn Illinois coal cleanly. In addition, the act allows the State of Illinois to purchase and sell Illinois coal to generating facilities if it chooses.
“Illinois is a net exporter of energy and we have to do all we can to ensure we can continue that strong energy economy. Coal is a major portion of that, especially downstate,” said Rep. Davidsmeyer. With Illinois coal, we can burn hotter, create more energy, and decrease CO2 emissions. We just have to make sure that the federal government takes a realistic approach to our nation's energy policy.”
As the major power companies are presenting their plans for the state’s future, the proposal aims to keep coal a part of the state’s broad energy portfolio.