THE BLOG
02/14/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Blago's Symbolic Parting Gift to Dirty Coal: Will Obama Follow?

Impeachment notwithstanding, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich signed a bill this week that will send another $18 million down the "clean coal" rabbit hole in Illinois.

The delusional symbolism couldn't be more obvious. In fact, the Chicago Tribune captured the carbon truth of the story:

"But coal is relatively inexpensive, at least for now, and the coal industry remains politically influential in a number of states. The Taylorville project represents a chance to help revive Illinois' beleaguered coal industry...

"Though coal companies and utilities have held up sequestration as the holy grail of "clean coal" for years, there still hasn't been a full-scale test of the technology. And even if carbon capture and storage works, most energy experts say, it will take decades to employ it at the scale necessary to significantly affect emissions.

"Indeed, though Illinois' proposed coal plant would emit less carbon dioxide than conventional power plants, it still would increase the overall amount of greenhouse gases the state produces."

As the Tribune reported last week, the Illinois congressional delegation has already been wrangling to include the FutureGen boondoggle in President-elect Barack Obama's stimulus package.

But as Joseph Romm has brilliantly explained (a million times), FutureGen's carbon capture and storage chimera is still wrought with four major problems: prohibitive cost, timing, scale, and permanence and transparency.

In fact, as Focus Midwest noted last month, the road to dealing with climate destabilization ultimately runs through Illinois and its coal-fired plants.

In the meantime, another report appeared last week about the epidemiological mystery in the tragic rise of black lung cases among coal miners today.

I wonder how long it will take until Illinois politicians apply the same amount of lobbying power to make sure a massive stimulus package includes FutureWind and FutureSolar clean job projects for the heartland?