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Taylorville Coal Plant Permit Appealed

The Sierra Club is filing a legal appeal to the issuance of a permit to build a coal power plant in Taylorville. This is going to upset some people. The company building it will cry and moan about how this is a "clean coal" environmentally friendly power plant because it uses new coal gasification technology.

Its certainly true that IGCC plants like this one result in large reductions of some pollutants, and that's a good thing. The problem is that it still releases large amounts of pollutants that cause global warming. A Sierra Club press release tells us why Taylorville may soon be in the national news as a test case.

This appeal marks the first federal legal action challenging a new major source of global warming pollution after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in April of this year that carbon dioxide is a pollutant and can be regulated under the federal clean air act. It is also the first permit issued in the US for a large scale commercial IGCC (Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle) power plant. IGCC plants have the potential to capture and sequester carbon dioxide, but to date no large scale operation has successfully done so. In addition, the Taylorville plant will not be installing the appropriate equipment that allows carbon capture and sequestering.

The 630 megawatt coal-fired power plant, proposed to be built in Taylorville, IL, would add approximately four million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, as much global warming pollution as adding 750,000 cars per year for each of the next fifty years. Carbon dioxide pollution is the primary cause of global warming, and is emitted into the atmosphere when fossil fuels are burned.

“Scientists are urging that we cut global warming emissions 80% by 2050...We can reach those goals, and continue using Illinois coal, if power plants plan to control their global warming pollution. Unfortunately, so far Tenaska has not been willing to commit to greenhouse gas limits, and be a part of a cleaner future,”? said Jack Darin, Director of the Sierra Club, Illinois Chapter.

 ...“With the filing of this appeal we urge Tenaska and the State to come up with a plan that allows this project to move forward in a way that does not accelerate global warming,”? Owen added. “Sierra Club stands ready to assist in finding these solutions.”?

Once again, central Illinois is going to be in the forefront of the national debate over coal power and clean energy.

Appealing the permit of coal plants to reduce their negative impact on the environment is normal for the Sierra Club. I want to point this out to illustrate that the Sierra Club's willingness to sit down with City Water Light & Power to work out an agreement was a conciliatory act of compromise that everyone benefited from rather than an act of "terrorism" or "extortion" as some ideological extremists claimed during the public debate. Springfield did it the better way.