� Squirrel's nest | Main | 52 �

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Coal gas 2.0

We could be getting a new coal gasification plant in Taylorville. Maybe. From the SJ-R (House approves coal gasification plant bill):

After years of trying, Illinois lawmakers Thursday finally approved legislation that could lead to construction of a coal gasification plant in Taylorville.
With no dissenting votes, the Illinois Senate sent Senate Bill 1987 to Gov. Rod Blagojevich for his signature. The Illinois House previously approved the bill.
Under the legislation, a study must be undertaken to determine the plant’s feasibility. The state will foot the bill for the study - up to $18 million - through bonds that lawmakers also approved Thursday.
After the study is completed, the General Assembly must review the findings and cast another vote before construction can begin. Lawmakers will also determine the costs to be paid by consumers and how much profit the plant’s owners can make from the plant.

It doesn't say who the plant's owners are or will be. But, I am surprised that this will be located in Taylorville, considering what happened there before. From the appeal of the jury verdict on what happened there before:

Four Taylorville, Illinois, families filed suit seeking compensatory and punitive damages for negligence and nuisance from Central Illinois Public Service Company ... relative to remediation of a particular area located in Taylorville (Site) that formerly was a gas manufacturing plant. All four families had a child afflicted with neuroblastoma, a cancer of the peripheral nervous system. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the four families against CIPS alone. From this verdict, upon which the trial court entered judgment, CIPS appeals. The four families (plaintiffs) conditionally cross-appeal. We affirm. (Emphasis added.)

The referred to gas manufacturing plant was, in fact, a coal gasification plant which was built in the 1880's and closed in 1932. One of the byproducts of the process was coal tar, which is highly carcinogenic, and which was buried underground. The theory was those kids got sick because of that coal tar (which actually was being remediated, but apparently incorrectly). Some called the theory junk science and tragic coincidence.

Of course, this is 2008 and not 1888, so maybe they've found a way to make coal gas without any environmental and health hazards - short or long term. Ya think?

Posted by Marie at November 20, 2008 10:38 PM


from what i remember, there were something like 6 to 9 cases of neuroblastoma, all of them living in the general area of manners park (the old plant was directly adjacent to the park), or who frequently went to the park and drank from the fountains. so a known carcinogen contaminates the groundwater in an area, then sits exposed to the air for months during the "cleanup," and kids in the area get cancer at a statistically abnormal rate? that's too big to swallow as a coincidence.

Posted by: jason at November 21, 2008 5:57 AM

Well, I guess I wouldn't want to live in Taylorsville. But for a writeup of the environmental consequences of the various coal transformation schemes out here, here's something from a green rag:

Posted by: Dan at November 21, 2008 12:00 PM

The new coal gasification plants aren't the same process as the old ones. But they have their own environmental problems. One thing you don't read about much in the press is that, although they have lower air emissions, they still have a lot of toxic solid waste that has to be dealt with. And figuring out where to store the captured CO2 becomes a bigger problem if we're talking about doing it on a national scale. Whose going to pay billions of dollars for pipelines and CO2 storage facilities all over the country?

Then there are problems with coal mining itself like mine subsidence and acid runoff. However you look at it the idea of "clean" coal is a myth.

Posted by: Will at November 21, 2008 12:46 PM

Jason, that's what the plaintiffs tried to convince the court and the court agreed.

Dan, thanks for that article. Very interesting. Bookmarking.

Will, exactly. And who is going to deal with those storage facilities 100 years from now.

Posted by: Marie at November 21, 2008 11:36 PM

Taylorville is a place for getting new coal gasification plant and final approved legislation is also good that can lead to construction of coal gasification plant...nice planning

Posted by: Coal Gasification at January 19, 2009 1:35 AM

Links just to promote a business are not allowed here.

Posted by: Marie Author Profile Page at January 22, 2009 3:22 AM

Post a comment

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)