Hundreds Gather in Springfield to Advocate for Equitable Climate, Transportation, and Energy Legislation

Springfield, IL. – Hundreds of community leaders, environmental advocates, faith leaders, business representatives, consumer groups, students and state legislators rallied outside of the Illinois State Capitol Building today in support of the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition (ICJC) Platform, a slate of legislation that would double down on Illinois’ bold climate policy and secure a more equitable, affordable and healthy future for all Illinoisans.

The rally, a central component of the Illinois Environmental Council’s Annual Climate Action Lobby Day, served as a powerful demonstration of grassroots support for key bills outlined in the ICJC Platform. Notable among these measures are the Clean and Reliable Grid Act (SB3637), the Clean and Healthy Buildings Act (SB3935/HB5835), and the Clean and Equitable Transportation Act (SB3936/HB5829). Together, this legislation represents a concerted effort to accelerate Illinois’ commitment to advancing comprehensive climate, equity, and clean energy goals.

Throughout the event, community leaders and state legislators underscored the urgency of enacting meaningful climate policies.

“Over 300 Illinoisans from across the state are at the Capitol today to urge our lawmakers to support a set of equitable, community-driven, comprehensive solutions to some of our state’s largest challenges,” said Rev. Wade Halva, Southern Illinois Outreach Coordinator with Faith in Place. “Illinois has already proven itself to be a leader on climate justice and workforce transition, but we’re ready for even bigger and even bolder solutions.”

The Clean and Equitable Transportation Act (CETA) (SB3936/HB5829) is a nation-leading package of comprehensive transportation and jobs bills that work together to provide Illinoisans clean, affordable, and equitable transportation options. These bills work together to reduce emissions (SB3934/HB5825), implement long overdue transit governance and funding reforms for Northeast Illinois with statewide benefits (SB3937/HB5823), and increase the availability and reliability of zero-emissions vehicles and their accompanying charging infrastructure (HB5824).

“We need to take the lead on addressing climate change as it impacts all of us, including communities that have been systemically disadvantaged,” said Sen. Villivalam. “While electrifying vehicle fleets is a robust start, we need a comprehensive plan. That is why I introduced the Clean and Equitable Transportation Act.” 

Instead of four government agencies (RTA, CTA, Pace, Metra) competing for funds, duplicating services, and ignoring decades-old requirements for integrated fares, the Metropolitan Mobility Act  (SB3937/HB5823) creates the Metropolitan Mobility Authority (MMA), which would oversee all bus, rail, and paratransit operations and respond to the diverse needs of our municipalities, counties, and state. 

“Transit is essential to equity. Without public transit to connect Illinoisans to school and skills training, without connecting workers to better-paying jobs outside of lower-income neighborhoods, without connecting caregivers to older family members, we can’t give every person a chance to get ahead,” said Jeremy Cuebas, a CTA rider and transportation organizer in Belmont Cragin, who added, “Equity starts with affordability – that means no more giant fare hikes and an end to double charging riders if they use CTA or Pace to connect to Metra or vice versa.”

Another piece of the ICJC Platform is the Clean and Reliable Grid Act (SB3637), which expedites our path to 100% renewable energy and strengthens the capacity and reliability of our electric grid. The bill would also require municipal utilities and rural electric cooperatives, who historically have been granted exceptions to state regulations, to complete transparent energy planning processes.

“The Clean and Reliable Grid Act will ensure our electric grid is reliable, strong, and powered by clean energy as we face the impacts of climate change,” said State Representative Janet Yang Rohr. “The one million Illinoisans who get their electricity from municipal utilities and rural electric cooperatives, including in my district, want to be part of that clean energy future too. This bill will ensure ratepayers aren’t left in the dark and that munis and coops are brought along in the transition to our fully electrified future.”

The Clean and Healthy Buildings Act will require gas utilities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, require the Illinois Commerce Commission to embed affordability into ratemaking and decision-making, and help people lower their gas bills through gas energy efficiency standards.

“Not only is methane gas expensive, but burning it in our homes produces benzene, a known cancer-causing chemical, and has been linked to childhood asthma. One in five cases of asthma in Illinois is attributed to burning methane gas in our homes,” said State Senator Celina Villanueva. “We must reduce pollution in our buildings and begin a managed transition away from dirty, expensive gas to more affordable clean energy solutions. We can do this right if we start planning now by passing the Clean and Healthy Buildings Act.” 

“We need meaningful legislation that addresses the energy burden in our state and paves the way for a just and equitable transition away from harmful, expensive and outdated energy sources like methane gas,” said Dale Ritzel, a member of the Church of the Good Shepherd UCC in Carbondale. “Our communities deserve the chance to thrive without sacrificing their health or the health of our planet.”

Lobby Day participants also urged the General Assembly to swiftly pass the Carbon Dioxide Transport and Storage Protections Act (SB3930/HB5814), which protects Illinois communities, our land, and our water from the risks associated with Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS). 

“Illinois can continue to lead the nation on climate and energy policy, so long as we focus on clean energy solutions that don’t put our communities and land at risk. Unfortunately, the fossil fuel industry is targeting Illinois and has decided to move forward with this largely unproven technology without adequate safeguards,” said State Representative Ann Williams. “HB5814 includes commonsense protections that close the regulatory gaps at both the federal and state level that leave Illinoisans unprotected from these risks at every step of the carbon capture process—at the capture facility, through pipelines, and at sequestration sites.”

Please find additional information about the ICJC Platform at