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Energy bill passes Illinois Senate, heads to Gov. Pritzker’s desk

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SPRINGFIELD (WSIL) -- The massive Illinois energy bill has passed through the Illinois Senate and heads to the Governor's desk. Senate Bill 2408 passed by a vote of 37 to 17.

SB18 requires the closure of all private coal-fired and oil-fired electric generating units by Jan. 1, 2030 and required municipal coal to be 100% carbon-free by December 31, 2045, with an interim emissions reductions goal of 45 percent from existing emissions by no later than January 1, 2035. The city of Rochelle is a co-owner of Prairie State.

Last Friday, the Illinois House passed the controversial bill 83 to 33.

A major point of concern for Republicans was that the bill could raise energy rates, which could cost consumers $136 million per year under a reconciliation process in the bill that's capped at 5 percent. The average residential customer would pay an additional $3.50 per month.

Governor JB Pritzker praised the passage in a statement saying...

"The State of Illinois is making history by setting aggressive standards for a 100 percent clean energy future. After years of debate and discussion, science has prevailed, and we are charting a new future that works to mitigate the impacts of climate change here in Illinois."

“I look forward to signing this historic measure into law as soon as possible, because our planet and the people of Illinois ought not wait any longer.”

Southern Illinois lawmakers are reacting differently than the Governor. Senator Terry Bryant (R-Murphysboro) voted no and said the legislation sets a terrible precedent.

“Eminent domain has always been used by the government for the sole purpose of providing property for public use. Under this legislation, we have given the greenlight to take private land from citizens to allow a private company to make money.

“The rights and property of our landowners should be protected. Yet, today we have pushed through a proposal that sends a clear message. When a profit is on the line, those rights don’t matter. It’s a direct assault on the people of this state.”

“And the attacks don’t end there. This legislation is the highest energy increase in Illinois history, adding to the burdens placed on small businesses and citizens who are already struggling. I would not support a proposal that places profits and bailouts above the wellbeing and future of Illinoisans.”

Senator Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg) agreed with Sen. Bryant, also voting no, saying the bill will be costly for Illinoisans.

“This energy proposal overlooks the reliability that coal provides to Illinois’ energy portfolio, relying instead on massive subsidies for wind and solar while placing a target on our privately-owned coal plants. The energy package also includes a dangerous eminent domain provision that threatens landowners and is a direct assault on our state’s agricultural sector.

“This isn’t real comprehensive energy policy. This is an attack on our coal industry that will undoubtedly bring about the greatest energy rate hike in Illinois history, eliminate jobs and will hurt the future of our state.”

Southern Illinois Representatives Dave Severin, Patrick Windhorst and Paul Jacobs also all voted no on the bill.

Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton supported the energy bill and released a statement Monday.

I commend my friends and former colleagues in the General Assembly for passing these reforms, as well as the advocates from across the state who championed this bill, because the time to act against climate change is long overdue.

Recently, we have seen the devastating effects of rising temperatures through wildfires, hurricanes, and droughts. Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities bear the brunt of this global emergency. This law ensures they will have a voice in our efforts to slow climate change through expanded job opportunities and entrepreneurial inclusion in the clean energy sector. 
 
We need to embrace bold measures that are based in science and uplift all of us. Senate Bill 2408 is an essential tool in our fight for justice, equity, and opportunity in what should be a much healthier, greener future.