8/5/15 – Members of Congress, Attorney General Madigan join business, faith, and health leaders in support of groundbreaking Obama Administration Clean Power Plan and state legislation to build clean energy jobs, save customers money

August 5, 2015

David Jakubiak, ELPC

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

Josh Mogerman, NRDC

Members of Congress, Attorney General Madigan join business, faith and health
leaders in support of groundbreaking Obama Administration Clean Power Plan
and state legislation to build clean energy jobs, save customers money.
Group underscores urgency for passage of “Illinois Clean Jobs Bill” to comply with new EPA
rule to reduce carbon emissions 30% by 2030.

CHICAGO — U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush and Attorney General Lisa Madigan joined business, public health and faith leaders today to applaud the release of President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, the historic effort to compel states to reach their own goals to reduce carbon pollution from power plants by nearly one-third, saying the new rules create the first step to cleaning the air, creating thousands of jobs and saving consumers over $1 billion on electricity bills.

“We have a moral obligation to leave our children and grandchildren cleaner air to breathe and a planet less exposed to the dangers of climate change. Through the Clean Power Plan, the Obama Administration has challenged Illinois to meet this obligation. And fortunately, we are well positioned to meet the president’s challenge. By implementing policies like the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill and Clean Power Plan that promotes job creation, innovation and competition on the state and
federal level, our clean energy sector can finally realize its potential,” said Rep. Quigley.

Rep. Rush emphasized that the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill not only helps address the issue of global climate change, but also “addresses some of our most urgent local priorities—starting with the need for good-paying, sustained jobs.” He added: “It is a once-in-a generation opportunity to build a clean energy economy that people in every part of our city and every part of our state can share.”

Reps. Quigley and Rush lent their support today for the Clean Power Plan (CPP), President Obama’s initiative calling on states to reduce carbon dioxide emitted by energy plants to levels 30% below 2005 levels by the year 2030.

Members of Congress stressed that the new federal rules raise the urgency for state lawmakers to pass The Illinois Clean Jobs Bill, legislation pending in the General Assembly that would enable Illinois to meet the president’s goals while offering the state a long list of economic and environmental benefits. The bill (SB1485/HB2607), introduced earlier this year in Springfield,
would boost the share of energy Illinois generates from renewable energy sources such as wind and solar to 35% by 2030, while doubling energy efficiency by 2025.

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.

Among the bill’s economic benefits, the Illinois Clean Jobs bill would put tens of thousands of people to work across Illinois. When it ramps up in 2021, the bill will employ more than 32,000 additional workers than there are today and sustain that level for the next decade. The bill would also save customers $1.6 billion by 2030 according to the Citizens Utility Board (CUB), for average household savings of nearly $100 per year.

Reps. Quigley and Rush and Attorney General Madigan were joined by the Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III, senior pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago; Patrick Woodson, Chairman North America Wind for E.ON Renewable Energy; and Dr. Susan Buchanan of UIC.

Attorney General Madigan strongly supported the Clean Power Plan when it was initially announced last year and emphasized the critical role renewable energy and energy efficiency can play in helping to meet the new rules. “President Obama has taken an important step forward in responding to the challenge of climate change. Now Illinois needs to start crafting an implementation plan that reduces carbon pollution and keeps energy bills affordable for consumers. I look forward to working with all Illinois stakeholders to develop an effective and economic approach for Illinois to comply,” she said.

Multiple studies prove that energy efficiency measures, like those contained in the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill, will save customers money: In addition to CUB’s estimate of $1.6 billion in savings under the bill, an analysis of the bill by the Union of Concerned Scientists also confirmed that the bill would save consumers money. In the past week, a study by Georgia Tech University predicted that the Clean Power Plan would mean savings of 20% for Illinois customers.

Rev. Moss said the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill and the President’s plan fulfill a moral obligation to protect the environment and help people facing economic challenges. “As people of faith, we know that we have a sacred duty to be good stewards of the planet and to care for our brothers and sisters in need, who are often the people most impacted by climate change,” he said. Moss also cited other provisions in the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill that would serve moderate- to low-income people including new community solar programs, job training, transformation of brownfield sites, and designating a share of energy efficiency measures to affordable housing.

Dr. Buchanan stressed that while climate change is one of the most serious threats to public health, strong limits on carbon pollution can provide immediate health benefits. “We could see a dramatic drop in cases of asthma attacks and other respiratory diseases, shorten pollen-allergy seasons, reduce cases of heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses, and reduce the risks of insect- and waterborne diseases,” said Buchanan.

“The Illinois Clean Jobs Bill fosters innovation, competition and private investment, and helps Illinois capture its share of clean energy jobs,” said Patrick Woodson of E.ON. “We in the business community ask that Governor Rauner actively support efforts to comply with the Clean Power Plan, and unlock the opportunity to create thousands of good jobs with a future,” said Woodson.

The Illinois Clean Jobs Bill is co-sponsored by 58 members of the Illinois House and 26 members of the Senate. The Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition is made up of more than 120 businesses and 50 groups, including environmental and consumer advocates, public health experts, and interfaith groups.