8/3/15 – Members of broad coalition say new Obama Clean Power Plan raises urgency of passing Illinois Clean Jobs Bill

August 3, 2015
David Jakubiak, ELPC

Emily Rosenwasser, Sierra Club,
312-251-1680 x119

Josh Mogerman, NRDC

Members of broad coalition say new Obama Clean Power Plan  raises urgency of passing Illinois Clean Jobs Bill
Group says “Illinois Clean Jobs Bill” is best path to help state comply with new EPA rule,  while growing 32K jobs and cutting bills by  $1.6 Billion

SPRINGFIELD — Members of a broad coalition of environmental, business, health, faith and community groups said that the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill (SB1485/HB2607) is the best way for Illinois to comply with the standards called for by President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, the final EPA rule released today that calls for states to reduce carbon pollution from power plants by nearly one-third by 2030.

They urged lawmakers and Gov. Bruce Rauner to support the bill to ensure that Illinois meets the new standards while also taking advantage of tens of thousands of new jobs, over 1 billion in consumer savings and health benefits that the bill would also create.

“The Illinois Clean Jobs bill offers our state the best opportunity to comply with the EPA standard, while also showing that a better environment and a better economy go hand in hand,” said Jen Walling, Executive Director of the Illinois Environmental Council. Walling added that speedy passage of the bill would also make Illinois eligible for incentives available to states that comply quickly.

The Illinois Clean Jobs Bill would meet the clean power goals by increasing the share of energy Illinois generates from renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, to 35% by 2030, and boosting energy efficiency goals to 20% by 2025. Walling noted that the recent comments by Exelon on the future of their nuclear plants makes the need to dramatically increase renewable energy production a necessary step to comply with the Clean Power Plan.

Dave Kolata, Executive Director of the Citizens Utility Board (CUB), said that the bill would also save customers 1.6 billion by 2030 according to a study by CUB. That would translate into average household savings of nearly 100 per year.

“By strengthening state efficiency standards, the Clean Jobs bill is the only measure in the General Assembly that allows Illinois to meet the new power plant standards while helping Illinois families save more than 1 billion on their power bills. This is a win-win for Illinois,” Kolata said.

A series of studies have confirmed CUB’s conclusion that clean energy measures, like those contained in the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill, will save customers money. The Union of Concerned Scientists determined that the bill would save customers 23% (or 22 per month) by 2030. In just the past week, a study by Georgia Tech University predicted that the Clean Power Plan would mean savings of 20% for Illinois customers.

Chris Nickell of Springfield-based American Wind Energy Management said that the bill would employ more than 32,000 additional workers than there are today and sustain that level for the next decade, and said that the bill would help Illinois capture wind and solar projects that have been built in states with more aggressive clean energy policies.

“We can no longer delay getting Illinois’ renewable energy policy right,” he said. “We have now fallen behind Oklahoma for installed wind, and every day that passes, rural communities across our state are missing out on tax revenue and farmers are missing out on lease payments. It’s time to make help Illinois compete in this growing field.”

Sen. Don Harmon, the bill’s chief sponsor in the Senate, said that the announcement of the President Obama’s Clean Power Plan should strengthen support for Illinois Clean Jobs Bill among state lawmakers.

“The momentum has been on our side all along, as seen in the long list of co-sponsors who see the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill as our best chance to foster innovation, competition and private investment, and to deliver economic benefits across the state,” he said. “The release of the President’s plan only adds to the logic of passing this bill and doing it now, so Illinois can attract new capital and new jobs, and customers can begin to see big savings.”

The Illinois Clean Jobs Bill is co-sponsored by 58 members of the Illinois House and 26 members of the Senate, and is also supported by the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition, made up of more than 150 businesses and 50 groups, including environmental and consumer advocates, public health experts, and interfaith groups.

The Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition is made up of Illinois businesses and organizations representing the state’s environmental, business and faith communities. Currently, more than 150 businesses and 50 organizations have formally joined the coalition to promote steps to improve the Illinois environment, help consumers, improve public health, and create tens of thousands of new jobs across the state.