Legislation to bring offshore wind to Lake Michigan has passed the Illinois House and is being considered by the Senate
*media interviews available upon request*
ILLINOIS—The Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition (ICJC) today announced their support for legislation that would bring offshore wind to Lake Michigan, creating thousands of clean energy jobs and putting Illinois one step closer to meeting goals set out in the Climate & Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA), which ICJC championed in 2021.
“One: our Lake Michigan is a precious resource, and protecting it from the threats of today’s climate crisis means we must build energy capacity with renewables like solar, geothermal, and wind. Two: Blacks in Green has seen how other states and countries have deployed offshore wind in harmony with local ecologies, and we encourage Illinois to embrace leadership in this emerging industry as it did in establishing the groundbreaking approaches and goals of the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act. Three: Rust Belt To Green Belt can be a bridge between CEJA’s equity provisions and tangible, long-term jobs, investment, and other economic benefits for environmental Justice communities in partnership with Illinois labor, both of whose support has been critical to our clean energy successes. Let’s pass it,” said Naomi Davis, founder and CEO of Blacks in Green, a member of the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition.
“The support of the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition is a significant milestone in our work to bring offshore wind to Lake Michigan because they represent a truly diverse group of environmental advocates, clean jobs advocates, businesses and faith groups,” said chief bill sponsor State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago). “Offshore wind isn’t just an environmental issue, a jobs issue or an equity and inclusion issue: it’s an all-of-the-above issue, and I’m excited that we have a growing list of supporters from across industries and issue areas who recognize the transformative potential of offshore wind.”
“The Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition’s support means that we’re well on our way to seeing offshore wind come to Lake Michigan,” said chief bill sponsor State Rep. Marcus C. Evans, Jr. “Offshore wind is a vital step toward building Illinois’ 100% clean energy economy and ensuring that we leave our communities greener and with more economic opportunities than they’ve had before.”
The Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition is made up of hundreds of environmental advocacy organizations, businesses, community leaders, consumer advocates, environmental justice groups, and faith-based and student organizations working together to improve public health and the environment, protect consumers, and create equitable, clean jobs across the state.
The Rust Belt to Green Belt pilot project lays the foundation for Illinois to build offshore wind energy on the lake and outlines an equity-driven process for wind developers to build a small pilot project, which on its own has the potential to generate nearly 3,000 jobs, help Illinois reach our climate goals, and take advantage of federal offshore wind infrastructure funding available through the Biden administration.
Other advocates for the Rust Belt to Green Belt bill, including House Sponsor Marcus Evans (D-Chicago) and Senate Sponsor Robert Peters (D-Chicago):
Business Network for Offshore Wind
Chicago & Cook County Building & Construction Trades Council
Chicago Federation of Labor
Chicago Laborers District Council
Chicago Urban League
Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce
Climate Jobs Illinois
Faith in Place Action Fund
IBEW Local 134
Illinois People’s Action
International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150
Iron Workers Chicago & Vicinity District Council
Mid-America Carpenters Regional Council
Teamsters Joint Council 25