By Dave Dahl
SPRINGFIELD – Phasing out coal sounds good to a lot of people, and negotiations toward a new energy bill in Illinois this summer point to a fourteen-year sunset. For union members and politicians gathered in a Springfield union hall Friday, there’s not enough time – and it will cost hundreds of jobs.
A news conference announced a desire for not-for-profit coal plants – the Prairie State Energy Campus in southern Illinois and the city-owned utility in Springfield – to be shielded from that fourteen-year phase-out.
“We need to be sustainable,” said Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder. “We need to be self reliable, and, to do that, you need to have a proper blend of energy resources. We don’t want to be shortchanged from short-sighted legislation.”
Others said it will take more than fourteen years to find suitable replacements for coal; and that renewable energy does not bring the solid, career-type jobs one would associate with coal.
It’s expected lawmakers will be back in Springfield in June to vote on the bill, which so far has not been introduced.
Dave Dahl can be reached at News@WJBC.com.