This is a crucial week for the future of the Taylorville Energy Center, as a Senate vote to approve the project is expected. While our focus is on Springfield, the enormous forces against the project have attracted national attention. We are in the fight of our life against a huge opponent that will spend anything and say anything to defeat the project.
Exelon’s battle to manipulate EPA regulations and preserve billions in profits by defeating projects like the Taylorville Energy Center generated a Wall Street Journal editorial on Dec. 23. Among the tools Exelon is using as it pulls out all the stops to kill the Taylorville Energy Center is a misinformation campaign where CEO John Rowe tells investors one thing, while their lobbyists in Springfield tell legislators the exact opposite.
Mr. Rowe is accurately quoted in the Wall Street Journal as saying “EPA regulations will affect both capacity and energy markets, and will do so sooner than many think.” When that happens, as Mr. Rowe says, “the upside to Exelon is unmistakable” and would add as much as “$800 million in new revenue.”
Yet in their efforts to defeat what Exelon accurately sees as a threat to that windfall, their lobbyist and former Illinois Commerce Commission chairman, Phil O’Connor, testifies to legislators with a straight face, “We don’t need any new baseload. The speculation on the closure of baseload plants is just that, it’s speculation.”
Despite their obvious attempts to confuse legislators in Illinois, the House approved the bill authorizing the Taylorville Energy Center and sent it to the Senate a few weeks ago. Overnight, an army of Exelon executives and lobbyists – including Frank Clark, who runs Exelon’s Commonwealth Edison – appeared in the Capitol to turn up the pressure.
Perhaps we were nave, but until the Exelon invasion, we could not imagine anyone opposing a project that will create 2,500 construction jobs, reinvigorate the Illinois coal industry and create thousands of permanent jobs. We hope the Illinois Senate votes to put jobs and people ahead of profits.
Greg Brotherton, mayor
City of Taylorville
I stopped at the Greyhound station on Dirksen Parkway in Springfield. Not only was the station locked up and closed, the entire area was filthy with trash and garbage left by patrons and others. The trash barrels were overflowing.
Springfield is the capital and the gateway to Illinois state government, major hospitals, a state medical school and a branch of the University of Illinois. Why does Greyhound tolerate such a shoddy appearance of its facilities? An option could be to move the station to the load/unload lane on the north side of Union Station on Madison St., between Fifth and Sixth in downtown Springfield. There is good security and the patrons can wait out of the rain when the station is closed and could keep warm or cool when the station is open 9 to 5 most days.
Union Station is the gateway to the new Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum complex in downtown Springfield. It has a state travel bureau located within. It is but about five blocks from the Amtrak Station on Third Street and in the heart of the Lincoln attractions in downtown Springfield.
It does not have to be this way. I cannot believe that the Illinois DOT, the local governments nor the federal DOT would allow such conditions to exist as at Greyhound’s current station in Springfield. Many Greyhound patrons would never return to the mess I saw the other day.
Alan R. Post