The Omaha, Neb.-based company has been trying for three years to secure the Democrat-controlled Legislature’s blessing for a plan that would require utility ratepayers and customers of competitive power suppliers to pay higher electricity prices over 30 years for Taylorville’s 602-mw output.
The company’s latest legislative attempt crashed and burned October 27 when the state Senate voted 31 to 26 to defeat a revised Tenaska bill, S.B. 678. Tenaska and its supporters had hoped this time would be different since Senate President John Cullerton sponsored the legislation.
But the outcome was the same as several previous efforts.
Cullerton used a parliamentary maneuver, known as “postponed consideration,” to keep the bill alive. That meant he could bring the bill back for another vote before the General Assembly’s fall veto session ends in mid-November or wait until next spring and submit S.B. 678 for a vote during the regular 2012 session.
Taylorville’s supporters say the project would create hundreds of good-paying power plant and coal-mining jobs. The facility, proposed for Christian County, would require about 2 million tons of coal annually.
But the project’s opponents argue Taylorville would destroy even more jobs than it creates once Illinois employers were forced to pay more for electricity.