Clean Jobs Bill Has Potential to Create 32,000 New Jobs in Illinois
WAUKEGAN, ILL. (April 8, 2015)--State Rep. Rita Mayfield, State Sen. Julie Morrison and members of the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition hosted a forum tonight to discuss proposed legislation in Springfield called the Clean Jobs Bill. The forum, cosponsored by the Clean Power Lake County Campaign, outlined how the legislation (HB 2607/SB 1485) will create thousands of good jobs in Illinois, save consumers money, and reduce dangerous pollution from coal-fired power plants.
The bill, cosponsored by 39 representatives and 19 senators, improves state renewable energy and energy efficiency standards and proposes a program to reduce harmful carbon pollution from power plants. The Clean Power Lake County Campaign will send a busload of Lake County residents to Springfield on April 22 to talk to legislators and build support for the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill.
"Waukegan and North Chicago have tremendous clean energy potential, and tonight's forum highlighted the opportunities the Clean Jobs Bill can bring to these communities," said State Rep. Rita Mayfield, who is cosponsoring the legislation in the General Assembly. "This bill will create thousands of new jobs in the clean energy industries, it will save consumers money on their electric bills, and it will deliver huge public health benefits by reducing dangerous carbon pollution."
"Illinois needs to take the lead in the renewable energy field," said State Sen. Julie Morrison, who is cosponsoring the legislation in the Senate. "We have advantages like innovative research facilities that are developing clean energy technology and abundant sunlight and wind. If we adopt a progressive environmental policy, we can create good-paying jobs and protect the environment for generations to come."
Mayfield and Morrison were joined by Jack Darin of the Illinois Sierra Club, Bryan McDaniel of Citizens Utility Board (CUB), and Kacie Peters of Microgrid Energy, which does solar power installations across the country.
Emceeing the forum was Waukegan Alderman-elect David Villalobos.
"The Clean Jobs Bill will help bring more clean energy investments into Waukegan, reduce air pollution from the local coal plant, and funnel more resources into the community for bill payment assistance for low-income households as well as job training," said David Villalobos, a leader in the Clean Power Lake County campaign.
Over the past two years, the Clean Power Lake County Campaign has hosted several clean energy events and delivered thousands of petitions to NRG Energy, owner of the Waukegan coal plant, calling on the company to invest in clean energy.
In August 2014, NRG Energy responded to pressure from local community members by announcing a commitment to invest $3 million in clean energy projects in Waukegan.
"I'm proud of the work the Clean Power Lake County Campaign did to push NRG to invest in clean energy here, and I'm thrilled to see our local elected officials championing state legislation that will continue our work to build a clean energy economy here in Waukegan," Villalobos added.
Since passing in 2007, the Illinois Renewable Portfolio Standard has set clean energy goals for the state and created more than 20,000 jobs, cut wholesale power prices by $177 million per year, and curbed more than 5 million tons of air pollution. The Clean Jobs Bill improves upon the existing renewable energy standard in several ways. It increases the share of power coming from renewable sources to 35% by 2030, and raises the state's energy efficiency standard with 20% energy reductions by 2025. Additionally, the bill proposes a market-based strategy to reduce carbon emissions from power plants to comply with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's proposed Clean Power Plan.
"Clean energy and energy efficiency are smart investments for Waukegan and all of Illinois," said Bryan McDaniel of Citizens Utility Board. "The Clean Jobs Bill proposes critical policies that will deliver significant savings to families on their electric bills and help to reduce dirty air pollution."
"The Clean Jobs Bill presents an immense opportunity to help bring new clean energy investments to communities like Waukegan and North Chicago, which already have the energy infrastructure and trained workers to build a local clean energy economy," said Jack Darin, director of the Illinois Sierra Club.
About the Clean Power Lake County Campaign
The Clean Power Lake County Campaign aims to bring the Lake County community together to build a just future based on clean air, clean water and a revitalized lakefront in Lake County. The coalition consists of the Agg'in Tribe, Christ Episcopal Church of Waukegan, the Environmental Law & Policy Center, the Exchange Club of North Chicago, Faith in Place, Incinerator Free Lake County, League of Women Voters-Lake County, Most Blessed Trinity Parish of Waukegan, NAACP's Lake County Branch, the Respiratory Health Association, the Sierra Club Woods & Wetlands Group, Waukegan Community Church and the Waukegan Bike Project.