From Disappointment to Optimism

(written by UCAN member, Edward)

Coal gasification has been getting its fair share of attention lately by various corporate powers as a clean energy source and eyed by government officials as something that creates jobs.

But the burning of fossil fuels can never be truly clean and far more jobs can be created with actual clean energy projects. The Tenaska state bill concerns the potential construction of a coal gasification plant in Taylorville, IL.
UCAN sprung into action to try and help stop it’s passage. But before we could successfully schedule a meeting with our local senator Kwame Raoul, the bill came up for a vote and Sen. Raoul voted yes.
A few days after the fateful vote, Caroline Wooten (in picture, left) and I went to our scheduled meeting with the senator. Considering that the vote was already cast, the lobby meeting became a fact finding mission to understand why Senator Raoul voted the way he did.
As it turned out, Senator Raoul was a very warm and friendly character. Upon hearing our concerns he assured us that the environment was a concern to him and that in this case his “yes” vote was a much due to a lack of pressure and information as anything else.
By the end of the meeting it was clear that the senator was sympathetic to our cause and is a potential friend especially given his open invitation to meet with him again on future issues.
The meeting was highly successful despite the less than ideal timing. So while Tenaska still lives and looms its ugly head somewhere in the IL house, UCAN has found a new friend moving ahead when going in, it was least expected.