IL Lawmakers to Vote on Clean-Energy Jobs Act in Special Session
Monday, June 14, 2021
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Lawmakers are returning to Springfield for a special session this week for a vote on the Clean Energy Jobs Act, aimed at decarbonizing the economy and bringing clean-energy jobs to Illinois.
Jack Darin, director of the Sierra Club Illinois Chapter, said the landmark climate bill was poised to pass at the end of the legislative session, but negotiations over closing coal-fired power plants by 2035 held it up.
While opponents argued closing coal plants would force workers out of jobs, Darin countered the bill takes those workers into account.
"Black and brown communities, communities that are facing the loss of coal plants as they have been going offline over the last decade, these are the places that we really want to focus these investments in," Darin explained.
After phasing out coal plants by 2035, the plan would phase out natural gas by 2045 to reach the goal of 100% renewable energy by 2050. Darin added, achieving climate goals goes hand in hand with lifting communities that have been most impacted.
Darin pointed out scientists have said for years how urgent it is to move away from fossil fuels, and emphasized polluters such as the Prairie State Coal Plant should not be exempt from the 2035 closure target.
"Representatives and senators can make that a reality next week, if they say no to the state's biggest polluters attempts to exempt themselves from this," Darin remarked. "This, what would otherwise be one of the nation's leading climate-action programs."
In addition to investing in more clean energy and creating jobs in underserved communities, the bill would fund more transportation and electric-vehicle infrastructure, as well as create an Electric Vehicle Access for All program to make sure all residents reap the benefits of clean transit.
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