Mt. Vernon Register-News

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May 8, 2009

Shimkus touts coal during Hamilton County visit

By KANDACE MCCOY

kandace.mccoy@register-news.com

MCLEANSBORO — Congressman John Shimkus joined local officials Friday in support of the coal mining industry and expressed opposition to proposed cap-and-trade legislation.

“This is really a cap-and-tax plan,” Shimkus (R, Ill.-19) stated in a press release. “I am here to state my plain and simple support for coal and the jobs we have here in mining and the potential new jobs, like those planned at mines and coal-fired power plants throughout my district.”

White Oaks has been working to open a long-wall coal mine in Hamilton County, and if the legislation passes through the Energy and Commerce Committee of which Shimkus is a member, he believes it could threaten potential jobs.

“Here in Southern Illinois, we have plentiful coal reserves that have been untapped,” he said during a press conference at the McLeansboro City Hall. “What great potential we have for good paying jobs here with White Oaks. My concern is under the premise of global warming, the solution is to put an added price on carbon emissions, which will affect jobs like this.”

Illinois Coal Association President Phillip Gonet added his support at the press conference.

“Congressman Shimkus understands you grow this economy by jobs and not by taxes and spending. Our coal reserves exceed the energy content of all the oil in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. We want to grow those jobs. ... But that may not happen if the cap-and-trade happens.”

Proponents of the proposed legislation, however, say the act will not only secure jobs, but also jump-start the economy.

“Illinois urgently needs new jobs, stable energy prices and freedom from dirty fossil fuels,” information from Matt McGovern of Repower Illinois stated. “For the first time, America has the opportunity to pass truly effective clean energy legislation to build a clean energy economy and create millions of jobs for American workers. The American Clean Energy and Security Act is the most important clean energy legislation in decades, and its passage is critical for putting America back on a path toward long term economic prosperity.”

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