- Published: Monday, March 09, 2015 04:42 PM
Elimination would increase downstate unemployment
SPRINGFIELD—State Senator Andy Manar is joining fellow downstate lawmakers in opposing Governor Bruce Rauner’s proposal to close the state’s Office of Coal Marketing and Development under the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
“This proposal from Governor Rauner will adversely impact downstate counties and communities that rely heavily on coal mining to support good paying jobs and economic activity. Closing this office will only drive up unemployment in parts of the state that already have significant economic challenges and high unemployment,” said Manar.
The office coordinates coal research between universities and the private sector. In addition, Manar says the office has become a leader in advancing clean coal technology and increasing coal exports to foreign markets while preserving and growing jobs in Downstate Illinois.
“Some of the highest unemployment rates in Illinois exist in coal mining counties and this proposal by Governor Rauner will only make the situation worse,” said Manar.
Coal mines operate at 24 sites throughout 14 downstate counties, including Macoupin and Montgomery Counties in the 48th Senate District.
Likewise, a coal emission pilot site in Decatur is the first U.S. location for large-scale carbon dioxide storage. Manar contends that the state should fully support the coal industry as a job creator and seek additional means to drive economic activity in rural and downstate counties with high unemployment.
“I fully understand that we need to be prepared to make difficult budget decisions in Springfield, but completely wiping out an office that houses a successful program bringing economic activity to downstate Illinois is reckless. We need to work toward a more balanced solution to our states’ financial crisis,” Manar said.