Governor Rauner signed legislation today, brought forth and sponsored by State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond), that seeks to increase the use of Illinois coal. The new law creates a taskforce to study the costs and benefits of using the latest scrubber technology to allow Illinois coal mined in our home state to be burned here as well.
“Coal is one of Illinois’ most abundant resources. We should be able to utilize that resource here. This bill has bipartisan support and is something I’ve been working on since taking office,” said Representative Bourne. “Because of Obama-era regulations, Illinois’ coal industry has been attacked and our area has lost many jobs as a result. I am working to take a different approach that promotes clean coal and good-paying jobs.”
The vast majority of Illinois coal is being sold and burned out of state because of the sulfur content, which burns off at a higher rate than federal and state air quality standards allow. A way to prevent, or reduce, sulfur escaping into the air when the coal is being burned is to install costly “scrubbers” that help remove sulfur before leaving the stack.
This newly formed bipartisan task force’s members’ primary responsibility is to study the costs and benefits of the construction of new stacks or conversion of existing stacks at coal-fired power plants with flue gas desulfurization scrubber technology. The task force’s work begins immediately and is to report its findings and recommendations to the General Assembly.