Today, I was honored to participate in the bill signing of the long-awaited clean energy package, a comprehensive nation-leading climate bill that will put Illinois communities and consumers first.
The new law will preserve our nuclear fleet as a bridge to a renewable energy future and will invest in significant renewable energy development. It will create equitable jobs in communities throughout Illinois and will ensure strong utility accountability and oversight. All of this on a foundation of equity and inclusion.
Since March of 2019, when I introduced the Clean Energy Jobs Act, I have been working toward the passage of clean energy legislation. I’ve been involved in countless working groups, public meetings and legislative hearings with stakeholders, community members, environmental advocates, youth leaders and others in an effort to craft a bill which puts climate, community and consumers first.
The bill is a product of months of intense and challenging negotiations. While no bill is perfect, I think we’ve struck the right balance, at the right time, with the passage of SB2408. It incorporates many of the priorities and critical provisions included in CEJA, as well as the 45% interim carbon reduction emissions target for municipal coal plants, including the Prarie State Energy Campus, the 7th largest carbon emitter in the country.
The law creates – for the first time – a solid decarbonization plan for Illinois, ensuring a complete and just transition from fossil fuel power generation to a renewable energy future by having a carbon-free power sector by 2045, with significant coal and gas plant closures leading up to that date.
I am grateful for the hard work of all those who have invested so much time, energy, and commitment to make today happen. Today was a good day. Today was a historic day.
But the climate conversation is far from over.
In an unprecedented joint statement last week, over 200 medical journals warned that the rapidly warming climate is the “greatest threat” to public health globally and urged leaders to cut emissions to avoid catastrophic, irreversible harm. Addressing this ongoing and deepening threat to the lives and health of all who inhabit this planet will take ongoing, aggressive, and sustained action at all levels of government.
Today is just the beginning.