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IL Governor Signs Legislation Jumpstarting Construction of $3 Billion Coal Plant Expected to Create Well Over 1,600 Jobs

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has signed legislation that now moves forward plans to build a new $3 billion  coal plant in Illinois destined to be a huge boost for the state's economy.

Dubbed the Chicago Clean Energy project, this "clean energy" facility is expected to generate more than $10 billion in economic output for Illinois. It also should create tens of thousands of jobs--including nearly 1,100 construction jobs, 200 permanent jobs and 165 mining jobs. The plant is slated to be built on the site of a former coke plant in Chicago at 114th Street and Burley Avenue.

The new law gives Leucadia National Corporation (the company building the facility) guaranteed customers as all utilities in the state will be required to purchase a significant percentage of their gas supply from the new plant. It will use at least one million tons of Illinois coal per year.

The facility will use an advanced clean coal process known as "gasification" to turn coal into a synthetic form of natural gas. The revolutionary process sharply reduces greenhouse gas emissions since carbon dioxide (and other harmful emissions) are captured as part of the chemical process, then eventually "sequestered" underground. All this is done without burning the coal or petroleum coke.

"We are grateful to Governor Quinn for his foresight in seizing an opportunity to make Illinois a leader in clean energy technology, and in securing clean energy jobs for the state," said Tom Mara, executive vice president of Leucadia National Corporation. "We are committed to working closely with local leaders and community members to make this project a tangible benefit to Chicago and the entire state of Illinois."

IL Governor Quinn said that this project protects consumers while continuing his state's position as a leader in clean energy technology. He also applauded its use of "home grown resources to create the jobs of today and tomorrow. "It's important that we have a reliable source of natural gas that comes from our own backyard," he added. "We don't want to be dependent on some foreign potentates for our energy supply. We want to be energy independent."

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