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Southeast Side Residents Urge Governor Quinn To Sign Chicago Clean Energy Bill

CHICAGO, July 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Today more than 150 community members of the Southeast Side of Chicago gathered in support of the Chicago Clean Energy project, a $3 billion private investment in the city. Frustrated by misinformation and rumor being circulated against the project, the group took a stand to set the record straight and to urge Governor Quinn to sign SB 3766, legislation that advances the project. Chicago Clean Energy will use gasification – a proven technology that creates substitute natural gas without burning or combustion and captures carbon dioxide and harmful emissions.

Opponents of the project are trying to scare consumers into thinking they will pay impossibly high and imaginary prices for natural gas from the Chicago Clean Energy facility. The information is completely false.

The fact is the project is guaranteed by law to save consumers at least $100 million on natural gas bills over 30 years. The Illinois Power Agency oversaw a $10 million state-sponsored study that demonstrated that the project is likely to save consumers over $1.2 billion.  The pricing structure established by the existing law includes a number of built-in consumer protections to keep the price of natural gas near market during volatile prices swings. This includes a 2 percent rate cap, a $1.5 billion reserve account that mitigates rate changes and a performance-based system to share savings and extra revenues with consumers. The structure of the rate caps is comparable to those established for wind and solar projects in Illinois.  

"It's troubling that opponents of this project don't even try to understand the law, the economics or the math," said Representative Joseph M. Lyons (D – 94). "Presuming natural gas prices will remain the same for the next 30 years is bad thinking and bad policy. The residents of Illinois deserve better. They also deserve a shot at a clean energy future, and an innovative project like this one."

"Enough is enough with the lies and scare tactics from special interest groups that know nothing about our community," said Dan McMahon, business manager, Carpenters Local 272 and lifetime resident of the Southeast side. "We know the Chicago Clean Energy project is good for our community because we are the ones who live and work here. We urge Governor Quinn to listen to our voices and not those spreading false information."

Gasification is a critical part of the necessary transition from traditional coal-fired power to a cleaner energy future. Six separate pieces of legislation comprise the enabling statutory framework for the Chicago Clean Energy project, each of which passed both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly by wide margins, with strong bi-partisan support.

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