Alton, IL

Illinois Coal Won't Immediately Bounce Back

Story by WBGZ Radio

Illinois' coal mines won't suddenly spring to life now that President Donald Trump has rolled back clean air rules, but that's not to say the decision won't have some benefit in Illinois. 

Former utility regulator Terry Jarrett said people's power bills won't increase as quickly now that the Obama-era rules are being scrapped. 

"This certainly isn't going to bring back the renaissance of the coal industry," Jarrett said Wednesday. "What it does, certainly at the margins, it's going to keep some of the current plants open that were scheduled to close because of this rule."

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President Barack Obama in 2015 ordered the EPA to lower carbon emissions by targeting coal-fired power plants. 

A leaked report from the Trump Administration said this week that scrapping the rules could save energy companies, and customers, $33 billion. 

Jarrett said coal provides cheap, reliable power, and Trump's decision will allow the industry to continue to do so into the future. 

"Really, what the Trump administration is doing here is removing some of the more overly-burdensome regulations," Jarrett said. "Now it's going to be more free-market, more open."

Trump's EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt, said ending the clean air rules puts an end to the government "picking winners and losers" in the power market. 

But Jarrett doesn't expect the rollback to end the push toward solar and wind power projects. Jarrett said power companies are now more than ever looking at all the energy sources they can. 

(Copyright WBGZ Radio /


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