For Immediate Release
Nov. 13, 2019
Media Contact: Maura Possley
City Council Members Support CEJA to Create Clean Energy Jobs in Communities of Color & Counties across Illinois
Chicago — The Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition today applauded members of the Chicago City Council for their support of the Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA) to increase clean energy and create jobs in disadvantaged communities in Chicago and throughout the state.
Earlier today, the City Council unanimously approved a resolution endorsing CEJA, which is supported by the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition, a group of more than 200 organizations, businesses, and community leaders working together to advance clean energy jobs, lower energy bills, and healthier air and water. Mayor Lori Lightfoot has also previously supported the goals of CEJA, including its plan to power Illinois on 100% renewable energy by 2050 and create clean energy jobs in communities that need it the most.
“We applaud the solidarity that the city council resolution represents,” said Delmar Gillus, Chief Operating Officer at Elevate Energy. “CEJA has equity at its core, and while we never stop working to make the policy process accessible, we are proud that this draft legislation represents the input of over 100 communities in Chicago and greater Illinois.”
“The Clean Energy Jobs Act will ensure that our state leads the country into a clean energy future while also making sure to create new clean energy jobs in our communities that need it the most,” said Pastor Scott Onque of Faith in Place. “The Clean Energy Jobs Act ensures that people in communities of color and in disadvantaged communities across Illinois will help lead the way in the new clean energy economy, especially by creating new clean energy businesses and sharing in the lower energy costs.”
“One of the most important reasons Illinois urgently needs to pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act is that this legislation will protect our power bills,” said David Kolata, executive director of Illinois’ top energy watchdog, the Citizens Utility Board. “Out-of-state fossil fuel power generators and their friends in Washington want to revamp electricity market rules and hit Chicago neighborhoods and communities across northern Illinois with up to $864 million a year in higher power bills to funnel more money to outdated, dirty power plants. But CEJA would implement the necessary electricity reforms to fend off this attack. We have to act now, or Illinois consumers will be forced to pay more for dirty power we don’t need.”
“In urging the passage of the Clean Energy Jobs Act today, the city of Chicago has once again demonstrated its commitment to a 100% clean energy future that lifts up all of Chicago’s residents,” said Colleen Smith, legislative director for the Illinois Environmental Council.
CEJA would invigorate the state’s clean energy sector while ensuring that all communities join in the resulting economic gains. Specifically, the bill (HB 3624/SB 2132) would move Illinois to 100% renewable energy by 2050, cut carbon pollution from the state’s power sector by 2030, and create steps to electrify the transportation sector. At the same time, the legislation would help keep a lid on energy bills and lead to economic benefits, particularly in the form of new jobs for communities that need them the most.
The legislation is an outgrowth of listening sessions held by the Coalition across Illinois in 2018. These “Listen. Lead. Share.” events gathered input on clean energy issues that helped craft and inform the legislation.
The bill also builds upon the Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA), a law enacted in late 2016 that increased the amount of solar and wind energy produced in Illinois while saving customers money on their bills. The new legislation, CEJA, would spur enough new wind and solar development to power 4 million homes, more than four times the amount accomplished by FEJA.
“Climate change is an economic justice, racial justice and immigrant justice issue. SEIU members live in neighborhoods disproportionately impacted by pollution, smog from the burning of fossil fuels, hazardous waste dumping, and undrinkable water. Climate proposals, like the Clean Energy Jobs Act, matter to our membership because they are impacted by climate change and environmental injustice every day,” said Theresa Yoon of SEIU Local 1. “Workers need climate change policies to protect their homes and health AND raise standards for all working people. We know that a massive shift to address climate change is necessary and it must be a just transition to a green future where all workers can hold a good union job, that’s why SEIU Local 1 endorses the Clean Energy Jobs Act.”
To help achieve equity in the clean energy economy, CEJA calls for the creation of Clean Jobs Workforce Hubs, a network of frontline organizations that would provide support for minority and disadvantaged communities. The bill also gives preferences to companies that implement actions to ensure equitable representation in Illinois’ clean energy workforce. For more information on CEJA and its benefits, visit the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition website.
About the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition
The ICJC is a group of more than 200 organizations, businesses, and community leaders 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.