Sen. Durbin Votes to Kill Coal-Producing Jobs, Plants in Illinois

Isn't Durbin concerned about job losses in Illinois's coal mining communities or the increase in electric costs when coal plants here in Illinois close their door?


As noted in an Illinois Review post on June 20, on that day a vote for Sen. James Inhofe's S.J. Resolution 37 was scheduled to be brought to the floor of the Senate for a vote, only to be summarily voted down on a mostly partisan vote.

Inhofe's resolution would have prevented the EPA from implementing "Utility MACT" (Maximum Achievable Control Technology), which has been described as the most economically devastating regulation in its 42-year history. 

Unfortunately, neither the announcement of the proposed U.S. Senate vote or the results were thought important enough to report in the Chicagoland media. 

I read about the defeat of Inhofe's S.J. Resolution 37 on-line in the Wyoming Business Report. Wyoming's two Republican senators, Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, were cited as voting down Utility MACT with its requirement that coal plants use Maximum Achievable Control Technology in plant operations. 

Senator Enzi described Inhofe's proposal as "the only legislative vehicle available to stop the Utility MACT rule from moving forward."

According to Sen. Barrasso, now that MACT has been allowed to proceed, its mandated greenhouse gas standards will make it virtually impossible to build a new coal-fired power plant in the United States, while many in existence will have to be shut down.

One study by the National Economic Research Associates estimates the Utility MACT rule will result in the loss of between 180,000 and 215,000 jobs by 2015, further increasing electricity rates by 6.5 percent on average and as much as 19.1 percent in some areas of the country. 

Inhofe's resolution to defeat MACT failed, 53 to 46, mostly along party lines.  Even so, five Democrats from coal-rich states voted with Senate Republicans.   Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) was not among them. 

Isn't Illinois also a state rich in coal? Isn't Durbin concerned about job losses in Illinois's coal mining communities or the increase in electric costs when coal plants here in Illinois close their door when they can't meet the stringent standards.  Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) didn't vote. 

It is five Republican senators, however, that must be held accountable for providing the fatal votes against stopping Utility MACT. They sided with those who have bought into the "consensus" theory that rejects hard scientific facts proving otherwise, that CO2 emissions -- what we breathe and what plants need to live -- is at the root of causing man-made global warming.  

They are: Lamar Alexander (Tennessee); Kelly Ayotte (New Hampshire); Scott Brown (Massachusetts); Susan Collins (Maine); and Olympia Snowe (Maine).

It is rather strange that four of the five Republicans who voted to keep MACT in place are from northeastern states with brutal winters that require heat to keep warm.

And to Sen. Durbin, Illinois is also a coal state and most winters it is also a cold state.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

SAVvyMom June 25, 2012 at 01:45 PM
I applaud Senator Durbin and others who understand that coal-fired power plants are not good for the environment. Republicans have held back the United States from being proactive about identifying other sources of energy and technologies to satisfy this "heating requirement" that the writer thinks will be in a crisis now. By continuing to lay back and pass mediocre legislation, we get a mediocre country in energy, education, etc.
Carol Kraines June 25, 2012 at 03:40 PM
I, too, applaud Sen. Durbin for doing the right thing. Coal plants hasten global warming and pollute the air with particles that cause/exacerbate ashthma, emphysema, and possibly lung cancer. Clean sustainable energy sources must replace this dirty, finite source and move us into the 21st century. Yes, jobs will be lost, but with new technologies, even more will be gained.
George June 25, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Hooray for Senator Durbin! Unlike the right wing ideologue, Nancy Thorner, Sen. Durbin realizes that health and climate change are issues that we need to deal with.


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