Oak Park starts dialogue on environment, Clean Energy Jobs Act

By Megann Horstead | Chicago Tribune

Clean energy can be profitable, as well as practical, and should be pursued, said one of the state legislators who came to Oak Park recently to discuss the topic. Other legislators focused on environmental justice and creating opportunities for diverse employees in the growing environmental economy.

They made the remarks at a forum sponsored by a number of local nonprofit organizations, including Unity Temple, Interfaith Green Network of Oak Park-River Forest, the Sierra Club, Citizens Utility Board, Illinois Solar Energy Association, Oak Park Area Climate Action, Seven Generations Ahead, 350.org, Faith in Place and the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition.

State Sen. Don Harmon, a Democrat whose 39th Senate district includes much of Oak Park, said state legislators are working to advance the dialogue held with colleagues in Springfield with regard to environmental issues.

“We have—notwithstanding all of the better moral arguments—we have built the economic case that this is the right thing to do, that people can make a profit in the clean energy space,” he said. “We have really flipped the table on people who said, ‘No, solar is too expensive. We can’t do it. We don’t want to make the investment.’ It’s happened. It’s happened because people have figured out a way to do this profitably.”

Read the entire article at the Chicago Tribune.