Letter: Time to move away from coal energy in Illinois

To the editor:

The poet Maya Angelou once said “when you know better, you do better.”

When it comes to Prairie State Energy, I think it’s pretty clear that we know better, now. In the words of Howard Learner, president of the nonprofit Environmental Law and Policy Center, “The Prairie State plant is an economic boondoggle.”

We all know that coal and other fossil fuels are not the future. We can argue the details and the timing, but this we know. Our world is changing, and the science is clear – we need to make big changes and we need to figure out how to make them, right now.

Everyone is worried about costs, yes. But costs are not all that matters. There are larger concerns, larger obligations.

Because we know that Prairie State is putting out an enormous amount of pollution, not in the future, but right now. Sitting in the Top 10 list for polluters for the entire United States, our coal plant is putting over 1 million tons of carbon per month into the air.

Closing is a huge step toward addressing global climate change. But it is also a huge step right here in Illinois, and most especially for our neighbors, friends and family members. Because closing also means saving the lives of the 50 people, every year, who die due to the pollution coming out of Prairie State.

Our state legislators have the opportunity, now, to be bold. They have the power to craft and pass legislation that will help the state make the transition from fossil fuels in a timely, sustainable, and affordable manner.

I call on them to do that. We must all call on them to do that.

Because we know better now. And when we know better, we must do better.

Rev. Scot Hull