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The Trump Administration today repealed the Clean Power Plan (CPP) and replaced it with a provision that demands no pollution reductions from states or coal companies. The rollback happens to come on the heels of the two-year anniversary of the state’s Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA) becoming law and makes it clearer than ever that states must step up and take the lead to secure their own clean energy future.
The Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule signed into law today allows coal-fired power plants to stay operational longer, despite the fact that coal company executives have publicly admitted that coal is increasingly uncompetitive.
The EPA itself has concluded that this plan will lead to a greater number of premature deaths and health complications, all for the sake of subsidizing aging, dirty, expensive coal-fired plants.
“The Future Energy Jobs Act and Governor Pritzker’s goal of a 100% clean energy future have Illinois moving in the right direction, but we still have one of the most carbon intensive and polluting electric sectors in the country,” said Jack Darin, Director of Illinois Sierra Club and member of the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition Steering Committee. “It’s critical that Illinois doesn’t allow its future to be dictated by the federal government and its politically motivated dirty energy policies. The Clean Energy Jobs Act is a bold and equitable plan to reduce pollution from Illinois’ fossil fuel power plants and make real investments in Illinois’ coal workers and communities affected by this inevitable transition beyond fossil fuels, and we urge lawmakers to enact it as soon as possible.”
“Today’s action is simply political pandering to an economically unviable industry at the expense of public health,” said Jen Walling, executive director for the Illinois Environmental Council and member of the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition Steering Committee. “Illinois must protect its residents from the federal government’s polluter-friendly policies.”
Thanks to FEJA, Illinois is already home to the highest number of renewable energy and efficiency jobs in the Midwest. Jobs in this field are growing 6 times faster than jobs in the economy as a whole. In contrast, coal jobs are few and diminishing. The proof that coal is a thing of the past is in the numbers: There are only 3,000 coal mining jobs in Illinois, while there are over 123,000 clean energy jobs.
That is why the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition is a champion of the evolution of FEJA with the comprehensive Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA), a bill rooted in equity and held up by four pillars: job creation, electrifying mass transit and the transportation sector, achieving 100% renewable energy by 2050 and cutting carbon from the power sector by 2030.
The clean energy economy will be built, the question is which states will lead and win the race for investments and job growth, and which states will find themselves left behind.
About the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition
The ICJC is a group of more than 200 organizations, businesses, and community leaders from throughout the state working together to advance clean energy jobs, lower energy bills, and healthier air and water. The group championed the Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA), which passed the Illinois General Assembly with bipartisan support and was signed into law in 2016. The law positioned Illinois to become a leader in clean energy and to capture the jobs and investments that come with it. The ICJC is currently working to pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA).