A coalition representing Illinois businesses, environmental, agricultural and consumer groups is urging Gov. Pat Quinn to veto a bill that would create a Chicago alternative power plant.
Citizens Utility Board Director of Government Affairs Bryan McDaniel says creating this new Leucadia plant will raise the price of natural gas from three dollars to ten or eleven dollars. Leucadia is wanting to sell the natural gas in areas of Illinois covered by Ameren Illinois and Nicro Gas. McDaniel believes downstate Illinois should not have to pay for something that will raise the cost of basic living.
The coalition is asking for Leucadia to find another way to fund the plant. McDaniel says a project like this is right up Wall Street's alley, but since they're not wanting to fund it, it makes the project's future look bleak. McDaniel adds since downstate Illinois would pay for it, it adds risk to the consumer and when you add risk to a consumer, it is not a good deal.
Leucadia says this will help economic development in south Chicago. McDaniel feels they are sympathetic to the hard hit south side of Chicago since this would be an economic advancement for them, but the rest of the state is also economically hard hit. He adds the entire state is in a hard economic time, and a company can't put economic pressure on other consumers to help one area out.
Grain elevators and farmers in downstate Illinois use natural gas to drain corn, and it is predicted that if Leucadia gets their plant in southeast Chicago that on average, companies will have to spend $35,000 more to store corn. It is also estimated the average consumer will pay an extra $170 a year if this bill goes through.
Gov. Quinn has until Aug. 10 to act on this bill.