Tenaska’s strategy apparently backfired. Taking coal out of the equation cost the backing of several Downstate lawmakers who were not happy that the company was “dumping coal,” according Phil Gonet, president of the Illinois Coal Association. “We said they’re not dumping coal…it’s being deferred.”

“We’re obviously disappointed we didn’t get a vote in the May session,” said Bart Ford, vice president, Tenaska. Ford acknowledged the company opted not to push for a vote on revised S.B. 678 following the last-minute change in the project’s configuration. In addition to the coal industry, the coal gasification project has been supported by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, a Democrat, and the Chicago-based Citizens Utility Board. Opposition has been led by Chicago-based Exelon, which owns more than 19,000 megawatts of zero-emissions nuclear power.