4/18/15 – In the Spotlight: Grandfathers concerned about jobs and the environment

peoria journal star

http://www.pjstar.com/article/20150418/OPINION/150419269/13312/OPINION

By Mike Everett and Bob Jorgensen, Peoria Journal-Star

April 18, 2015

Union jobs have built Peoria from the ground up, and will continue to make our community great for years to come.

We are at a crossroads right now in Illinois in determining how we power our state, and our community has a lot at stake. Central Illinois is already reaping the benefits of Illinois’ growing clean energy economy, with more than 20,000 jobs created in our region in wind energy. At the same time, we recognize that today’s power plant pollution has consequences for our future.

As grandfathers, we know that we have a moral obligation to protect our air, water and climate for future generations. As lifelong union members, we know that the key to building a better future for our children and grandchildren must include ensuring good jobs and economic vitality in diverse Illinois communities so families can grow and thrive.

The Illinois Clean Jobs bill (HB 2607/SB1485) has solutions to make central Illinois a winner in the new energy economy by generating an estimated 32,000 new clean energy jobs each year. By ramping up Illinois’ commitment to clean energy to 35 percent of our supply by 2030, we keep clean energy growing by bringing new clean energy projects to central Illinois.

With a goal of wasting 20 percent less energy by 2025, this bill also would help homeowners and businesses save energy and money while putting contractors to work. It removes barriers to rooftop and community solar energy, making these technologies accessible and affordable to everyone.

Finally, the Clean Jobs bill would bring investment to central Illinois by recommending a market-based approach to reducing carbon pollution in Illinois. By placing a value on energy sources that reduce carbon emissions, we can encourage financing for innovative energy projects while protecting consumers.

Our electricians, operating engineers, laborers, millwrights and other skilled trades men and women are ready to build clean energy if Illinois gets the policies right.

We thank state Sen. Dave Koehler for his leadership as a chief sponsor of the Illinois Clean Jobs bill. As lifelong advocates for working families, we agree that central Illinois will be a winner if Illinois commits to a clean energy future. Let’s pass the Illinois Clean Jobs bill and get to work building the future we all want for our communities and for future generations.