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“Yes, we’ve won the battle, but we haven’t won the war . . .”

By Sharon Rolek, Member SETF

Mid-afternoon Friday, August 10, Governor Quinn’s statement was released.  He vetoed SB3766 – which planned “to void any previously approved sourcing agreements by the ICC as it relates to the Chicago Clean Energy project, and seeks to address several contested issues including debt ratio, projected annual output, and cost recovery percentages” of Leucadia’s Gasification Plant. The environmental community bombarded the Gov. with 700 phone calls, 11,000 petitions and a 200-person rally at the Thompson Center. The trade unions and Alderman Pope put a lot of pressure on the Gov. with their pro-Leucadia efforts. 

While we are pleased the Gov. vetoed this bill, his reasons were purely economic.  Even after a recent visit from the Brian Urbaszewski, Director of Environmental Health Programs at the Respiratory Health Association of Metro. Chicago.  His letter included comments about protecting the ratepayers, but also that he wants a “bill to enable this project to move forward.”

The veto of SB 3766 is a big interim victory in our fight against Leucadia’s coal plant, but the fight is not over yet. Leucadia still has guaranteed 84% funding of their project through a previously-passed bill. However, there are numerous hurdles Leucadia has in front of them before the plant can go forward. Leucadia must obtain pollution credits from the Illinois Pollution Control Board in order to operate on the site. They also must apply for air and water permits with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. Leucadia doesn’t even own the land that they want to develop. We will have further opportunities to engage in this process, and we’ll need your help to succeed once again!  Anyone wanting to help, please contact kady.mcfadden@sierraclub.org  She is heading up our “Beyond Coal”/Environmental Justice Alliance of the Southeast Side of Chicago.

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