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Blagojevich signs bill aiming to help IL coal industry

Gov. Rod Blagojevich shakes hands with southern Illinois lawmakers after signing the coal bill into law Tuesday (UPI photo/Bill Greenblatt)

By AP/ Illinois Public Radio

Mt. Vernon, ILL. – A southern Illinois lawmaker says a bill signed Tuesday by Governor Rod Blagojevich will help provide a new use for high sulfur Illinois coal and an alternative energy source for the nation. State Senator John Jones says the bill will encourage firms to build coal gasification plants by giving them state funding incentives.

The Mt. Vernon Republican says a company is already showing interest in building such a plant, I think it's the wave of the future, so to speak. I think it will revitalize the coal industry in southern Illinois. Everybody knows we got an abundance of coal and the great thing about the gasification process is the sulfur is not a problem. It actually becomes a product that can sell.

The new legislation removes some regulatory obstacles to development of the coal gasification sites. Jones says these plants could create hundreds of jobs in the coal mining and construction industries for southern Illinois and the same amount or more in spin-off jobs.

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