Cory Davenport, The Telegraph
August 5, 2015
Demonstrations held outside the offices of Sen. Bill Haine (D-Alton) and Rep. Dan Beiser (D-Alton) Wednesday morning were not protests — they were celebrations.
According to Piasa Palisades Chair Laura Asher, the celebration is for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan which was announced on Aug. 5. The Clean Power Plan is described by its supporters as, “a comprehensive plan to reduce the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions.” Those gathered outside the offices of the state representatives demanded Illinois pass its own energy plan, called the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill.
“We want to send the message that the citizens of Madison County do not want to be a part of the dirty past, but instead be a part of a clean future,” Asher said at the demonstration outside Beiser’s office. “Illinois used to be a leader in energy development. It won’t be in the future if we keep relying on old forms of energy.”
Asher said the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill would not increase taxes on anyone. The Illinois Clean Jobs Bill would take existing taxes levied on polluters and use them to promote renewable energies, Asher said.
A release from the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition said a fully-implemented clean jobs legislation would create as many as 32,000 new jobs per year in Illinois. There are currently an estimated 100,000 clean energy jobs in Illinois, according to the release.
Pastor Norma Patterson of the United Congregations of the Metro East spoke outside of Haine’s office in favor of job creation. She sported a goldenrod yellow hardhat as she spoke.
“I’m all about jobs, first and foremost,” she said. “We need jobs, but we need to change the way people work. The old way was, ‘I don’t care, we need the money.’ Now we care about the environment and we care about the people working.”
More than 375 Madison County residents signed petitions to both Haine and Beiser asking their support on the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill. The bill is currently in the Illinois General Assembly. It is covered under House Bill 2607 and Senate Bill 1485.
Those petitions were delivered to both Haine and Beiser by Asher. Asher said representatives from Haine’s office did not receive the petitions, so she left it in his mailbox. Representatives from Beiser’s office, however, did receive the petition from Asher.
Beiser and Haine were both in session in Springfield at the time of publication and could not be reached for comment.