Coal Plant Proposed for East Dubuque

By: Tina Stein
By: Tina Stein

There's already another job lined up for some of these Metrocentre construction workers. About 75 members of the Plumbers and Pipe fitters Union plan on commuting to East Dubuque next year, to work on a one-billion dollar coal plant, the nations' first of its kind.

"This project will have a lot of piping and that's where our members come in and they'll be doing piping on that facility," says Bob Hastings, Business Agent for the Plumbers and Pipe fitters Union.

It's a 5-7 year project that will employ 12-hundred construction workers per year. The plant pulverizes coal mined from Southern Illinois. The coal is then warmed up, turned into a gas and produces electricity, diesel fuel and fertilizer. Right now nearly half of fertilizer used on local corn fields is purchased overseas.

"We've got an abundance of coal and we're gonna use that to reduce our dependence on foreign oil for the diesel fuel and then our fertilizer," Hastings says.

But some say since diesel fuel puts out twice the CO2 emissions as gasoline, it's not worth the investment.

"This is probably the dirtiest most expensive energy gamble that we can take. All of the things we're doing today to fight global warming, changing our light bulbs driving more fuel efficient cars, going hybrid, all of that's gonna be offset by this," says Sierra Club member Sue Breidigam.

Construction on the coal plant is expected to begin next year. But first the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency must make sure there's not an abundance of CO2 emissions. A public hearing takes place on October 30th at East Dubuque High School.


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