The Illinois state Senate has surprised some observers recently by approving the construction of a new gasified coal-fired power plant, according to The Chicago Tribune.
The Tenaska Energy power plant would make use of gasified coal, a fuel that has been touted by some as a cleaner method of burning coal and decried by environmentalists for the still-high carbon emissions such power plants can generate.
These concerns had been enough to keep the plant in legislative limbo for three years, having reached the Senate floor two other times and being rejected both times.
On the third try, however, the $3.5 billion project finally received approval, though it still must pass through the House, which is unlikely to consider the proposal until February of next year.
Environmentalists criticized the decision, calling the new coal plant "unnecessary," but Tenaska's Bart Ford noted that the state has shuttered some older plants for environmental reasons and will need replacements.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration notes that in 2009, Illinois coal accounted for 46.4 percent of its electricity generation and 36 percent of its total capacity.