A report released on June 27, 2013 by the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability and Downstream Strategies estimates that in the 2011 Fiscal Year, the coal industry drained nearly $20 million from the Illinois state budget in subsidies and expenditures related to supporting the coal industry. The report, The Impact of Coal on the Illinois State Budget, was commissioned by the Sierra Club, Prairie Rivers Network, Faith in Place, and Eco-Justice Collaborative.
“Coal mining and support activities play a relatively insignificant role in the Illinois economy, representing only 0.2 percent of private industry economic activity in 2010,” said Amanda Kass from Center for Tax and Budget Accountability. “The level that state lawmakers subsidize the coal industry in Illinois does not pay off for the state budget or for state residents.”
As the nation reduces its dependence on burning coal and coastal residents are coming out by the thousands to reject coal export terminals, a subsidized, environment in Illinois has opened the floodgates to coal mining companies to extract coal from the Illinois Basin with very little benefit at both the local and state level other than depleted natural wealth and damaged lands and waterways left behind.
Coal companies, some with more than 600 mine permit violations on record, take advantage of these perks and breaks while using dangerous and damaging methods to mine high-sulfur coal and export it out of state. Read more …
Illinois’s mining industry has caught fire. Considered too dirty to use for decades, rising exports, and ironically, tougher pollution laws, have changed the business landscape for the state’s sulfur-rich coal almost as much as their longwall mines have changed downstate scenery.
Coal output in the Illinois basin (Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky) grew by 10% last year, helping propel Illinois up 4 spots to the 5th largest coal producing state in the country since 2009. The state is expected to up production above 2010 rates by 70% this year.
Although coal is in trouble domestically, with the rise of natural gas, states like Illinois, with easy access to international markets (and with apparently little concern over climate change) in Europe and Asia offer a lifeline, with exports setting new records (125 million tons, roughly double 2009 exports). Read article …
This retreat took place from May 17 to May 19 at Camp Ondessonk in the beautiful Shawnee Hills. During that time we focused on building the skills, networks and campaigns we need to ensure that the true costs of coal are borne by the industry as we work to create a just and sustainable energy future in America’s Heartland.
We hosted three different tracks (general, organizing and technical), offering something for all, no matter what level of knowledge or expertise. Visit our retreat page to download a program and learn more.
For a century, coal dominated America’s energy landscape, cheaply fueling the factories of the Rust Belt and lighting up homes across the country. King Coal also enjoyed almost unrivaled influence in Washington. On Capitol Hill, the muscular coal lobby routinely rolled its opponents. In particular, the clout of the coal lobby—and the money it doled out—was a major reason Congress has never enacted a serious climate-change law.
Now all that’s changing. Coal is under siege from forces beyond its control. Its dominant place in the American economy is slipping—and so, for the first time in a century, is its ability to get what it wants from Washington.
According to a five-year outlook published 6/26/3 by the International Energy Agency, renewable energy is growing fast around the world and will edge out natural gas as the second biggest source of electricity, after coal, by 2016.
Renewable power, including hydropower, is the fastest-growing power generation sector and it is expected to increase by 40 percent in the next five years. Read article …