Illinois' coal industry is growing, with an increase in exports of 35 million tons a decade ago, to more than 55 million tons, thanks to new coal technology. As a result, jobs from coal mining are increasing in the state as the natural resource that lays below the soil is marketed around the world.
Representative Rich Brauer defended Illinois coal this week, as he joined in the impassioned debate on a move that would eliminate the mandate of coal public awareness and education.
During discussion on House Bill 5660, which would have taken away the mandate requiring the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to carry out programs to increase public awareness and education of Illinois coal.
State Representative Rich Brauer termed the elimination of the mandate as "criminal" and suggested that even fellow adult House members could benefit from learning a bit more about Illinois coal. "The issue is that we DO need to continue to educate our children and adults that Illinois coal is CLEAN."
Above---Viper conveyor of coal
between Elkhart and Williamsville, IL
"The Elkhart mine is clean---sulfur is not emitted in any measurable amount." Brauer then added, "Do you realize that the cost per kilowatt hour for clean coal is 2-and-a-half cents to 3 cents and that wind generated energy is three-to-four times that cost? Half of our energy in this country comes from coal," stated Brauer. The money for current coal awareness education comes through utility taxes, but the taxes would not be diminished in the event that the mandate for coal awareness were to be dropped. HB5660 was defeated in the Illinois House on a vote of 54-61, with the sponsor postponing consideration, meaning it can be brought back for discussion and another vote.
More information: Read the 2013 Illinois Coal Export Report