I was excited to hear that Governor Pritzker has restarted discussions on equitable clean energy legislation in Illinois which will focus on the Governor’s recently announced Eight Principles for a Clean and Renewable Illinois Economy. Discussions had previously paused due to revelations of ComEd’s corporate corruption scandal and their undue political influence on energy legislation over the past decade.
By restarting this process and calling for strong utility reforms, Governor Pritzker has reaffirmed his commitment to an open and democratic process for taking urgent action to combat climate change and put consumers and climate first.
Governor Pritzker understands the stakes are high. This summer, extreme heat has spread across Illinois and is expected to increase in the coming years. Heat waves can be deadly and can lead to a spike in poor air quality, which is particularly dangerous for environmental justice communities. Record precipitation in 2019 crushed farmers financially, with some areas seeing between 200-600 percent increases.
The Governor’s eight principles seek to achieve a clean energy future for Illinois that includes real accountability measures for utilities and puts Illinois on a path to 100 percent clean energy while acknowledging the need to address the economic crisis Illinois is facing from COVID-19. The Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA) does just that. CEJA is a comprehensive climate bill that centers equity and community, puts Illinois on a path to achieve 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2030, and achieves 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. The bill was developed by the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition with input from residents from across the state garnered through over 100 community-based conversations known as “Listen.Lead.Share” events.
CEJA has specific provisions for equity, workforce development, accountability, and so much more. The Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition has spent the last five months working with community leaders, advocates, and organizations from across the state to make CEJA even better.
We must act quickly
The Governor wants to move swiftly to develop and pass clean energy legislation with willing partners in an open and transparent process where utilities don’t have outsized influence. We are eager to do this with him.
We look forward to working with Governor Pritzker and the legislature on passing a bill that holds utilities accountable, creates thousands of clean energy jobs that help rebuild communities of color, and leads a statewide economic recovery. CEJA is the only bill that addresses the current crises we are in. Tell your legislators that CEJA can’t wait!
Support from UCS members make work like this possible. Will you join us? Help UCS advance independent science for a healthy environment and a safer world.