Gas plant bill should be vetoed
Bill 3766 might create jobs, but rates would be driven up significantly
Gov. Pat Quinn should veto legislation passed by both the Illinois Senate and House that essentially will drive up costs for natural gas customers in Grundy County and across the state.
Senate Bill 3766 was approved in the waning moments of the legislative session that ended in May after significant lobbying by the Leucadia National Corp., which wants to build a $3 billion synthetic gas plant on Chicago’s southeast side.
Although the measure would create about 1,000 jobs in the short term, it forces Nicor Gas, which serves the suburbs, and Ameren Illinois, which serves downstate, to pay much of the costs to build and operate the plant. Nicor and Ameren also would be required to buy the much more expensive natural gas that this new plant produces.
This, in turn, would significantly drive up rates for all Nicor and Ameren residential and commercial customers.
A diverse coalition of Illinois businesses and environmental, consumer and agricultural groups oppose the legislation, including the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, the Sierra Club, the Citizens Utility Board, and the Chemical Industry Council of Illinois.
“No matter how you look at it, a bad deal is a bad deal. Leucadia would result in one of the largest rate hikes for consumers and businesses in Illinois history,” said Mark Denzler, vice president/COO, Illinois Manufacturers’ Association.
Grundy County’s state lawmakers also opposed the measure. Both State Rep. Pam Roth and State Sen. Sue Rezin voted against it.
Natural gas prices are at historic lows, and there is an abundance of supply.
This plant is not needed, certainly not now.
Gov. Quinn, veto this expensive legislation.
The Morris Daily Herald Editorial Board is led by Publisher Gerry Burke and editors Patrick Graziano and Mark Malone. It makes its editorial decisions in consultation with other members of the Herald staff.