Thursday, May 13, 2010

State of Illinois Funds Coal Mining: $1.6M Grant to International Coal Group, Inc.

in fiscal year 2009, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity gave International Coal Group, Inc. (ICG, Inc.) of Williamsville, IL $1,664,250 for grant number 09-483006. According to the DCEO’s Grant Tracker website, grant number 09-483006 was part of the Coal Competitiveness Program, which “encourages communities and businesses to improve the coal extraction, transportation and utilization systems within Illinois.” This specific grant was for the construction of a new production portal.

Meanwhile, the resolution to repeal the moratorium on further nuclear development has gone to the state assembly. 

Why are we subsidizing coal production while obstructing nuclear, the most efficient and powerful means of energy production on earth?

Could it be that coal is a safer and cleaner form of energy? No, because coal has killed more people both directly, as a result of mine disasters, and indirectly, by pollution-induced illness, than any other form of energy, while the 104 nuclear power plants in the U.S. have not killed a single civilian in the entire history of the industry in this country. 

Could it be, instead, because the coal lobby is one of the most powerful in IL, and because we still have a substantial number of people employed in high-wage, though deadly, jobs as coal miners? 

It's time to ask why we are promoting and subsidizing the dirtiest and most lethal form of power generation while obstructing a set of technologies that could extend the fuel cycle for a thousand years by means of more elegant and efficient nuclear technologies, such as the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor. And it is really time to question the wisdom of so-called "renewable" technologies that are diffuse and grid-destabilizing without the backup of fossil fuels like coal. How  clean and renewable can the "renewables" really be if they're only reliable with the "backup" of coal and gas, two forms of energy proven dirty, destructive, dangerous, and subject to depletion in the next couple of decades.

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