SPRINGFIELD - A retooled plan to build a $3.6 billion coal-to-gas electric generating plant in Taylorville again faltered in the Illinois Legislature Thursday.

The latest version of Omaha, Neb.-based Tenaska Energy's proposal fell nine votes short of passage following a contentious debate in the Senate.

Supporters say they hope to bring the measure back for another vote when the General Assembly's fall veto session resumes Nov. 8.

"We've done everything possible to make this a better bill," Tenaska spokesman Dave Lundy said.

The plant could create as many as 2,500 construction jobs and 150 permanent jobs on a site northeast of Taylorville.

The proposal would require utility giants ComEd and Ameren to purchase electricity from the plant for the next 30 years. That, opponents say, will raise rates for large users such as Decatur-based Archer Daniels Midland while guaranteeing profits for Tenaska.

To appease opponents, Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, said the measure now contains a cap on rate increases and a provision to establish a $30 million scholarship fund for minority students.

State Sens. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon, and Dale Righter, R-Mattoon, both voted "no," saying the plant would hurt businesses and lead to less overall job creation in the region.

The legislation is Senate Bill 678.

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