SPRINGFIELD, IL — Legislation to close coal-fired power plants by 2045 while propping up nuclear power and green energy programs stalled out again at the statehouse, but work continues on the bill.
After hours of delays for a Senate committee taking up the bill Tuesday, Democrats said there wouldn’t be a vote. Pat Devaney, with the AFL-CIO, said labor is now fully on board. He said there’s hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of jobs at stake and looming closures of nuclear plants would hurt a climate group’s objectives.
“There are many things that happen, that negatively affect climate, if we don’t pass legislation now,” Devaney said.
Juliana Pino with Little Village Environmental Justice Organization said they’re still opposed to the measure. When pressed by state Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, who has a nuclear power plant in her district, about what they’re looking for, Pino said they won’t bend on forcing the closure of coal-fired plants.
“Our plan is clear, fast renewable development, reliable interim reductions at existing plants, predictable closure dates, mitigating pollution where it needs to be mitigated first,” Pino said.
There was also opposition from the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, which said the measure will lead to the largest electric rate hike in Illinois history and will hit the manufacturing sector “extremely hard.”
“Manufacturers use one-third of all energy in the United States,” IMA President and CEO Mark Denzler said. “Manufacturers are committed to sustainability and reducing energy usage. In the last decade, manufacturers have reduced emissions by 21% while increasing output by 18%.”
The Illinois Chamber of Commerce also opposes the bill.
The measure packaged in a different bill passed the Senate after midnight. It’s unclear when it will be brought up in the House.