Leucadia – a corporation involved in mining, drilling, and banking – is agressivelt lobbying to build a gasification plant that would produce Synthetic Natural Gas (SNG) on the southeast side of Chicago. The plant would gasify coal and petroleum coke, a toxic waste created by refining tar sands. This plant would gasify coal to produce 43.5 billion cubic feet of synthetic natural gas per year.
UCAN and residents of the Southeast Side are wary of the industry assertion that SNG can serve as a safe alternative to coal. In fact, the lifecycle of SNG creates twice as many pollutants as carbon dioxide – making it a huge contributor to damaging air quality across Chicago and global warming. The massive amount of water required to keep these plants from overheating and melting onto themselves would require that devastating coal mining practices be expanded.
Besides this environmental damage, SNG plants costs almost $4 billion dollars to build. Leucadia believes that Illinois taxpayers ought to help it foot this massive bill. Structural problems with SNG plants that still exist today (see above) actually make it likely that taxpayers will be on the hook for decades to come.