During the 2019 Illinois legislative session, I introduced the Clean Energy Jobs Act. The implementation of this legislation, known commonly as CEJA, aims to put Illinois on the path to 100% renewable energy by 2050, cut carbon from the energy sector by 2030, and reduce gas and diesel vehicles from the transportation sector. Enacting clean renewable energy policies in the state is critical because it helps the new green economy flourish and allows the state to ensure a more sustainable future. We have seen the heightened prevalence of climate change issues right here in Illinois. Take for example the extraordinary temperatures and extreme weather events that Illinois has seen in recent years. We know that introducing clean environmental legislation is more imperative than ever.
As the House sponsor of CEJA, I am proud to announce that the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition has published an expanded version of the legislation with an added focus on equity. This updated version of CEJA takes into account the ways that communities of color are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and addresses the need for reforms in the relationship between state government and utility companies. It ensures that the state energy policies favor people and communities over profits. CEJA also works by creating jobs in communities particularly hit hardest by unemployment as a result of COVID-19. With its passage, Illinois could be recognized as a national model of state-led climate change mitigation working in tandem with COVID-19 recovery.
With the updated legislation, features such as an equity point system for corporations, an expansion of the Clean Jobs Acts Workforce Hubs and Clean Energy Incubator Programs, a commitment to doubling down on community-based solutions for environmental justice, and the acceleration of renewable energy expansion will all come together to make this updated version of CEJA strong and comprehensive. I am proud to stand behind such a broad coalition of consumer advocates, environmental organizations, youth activists and community leaders in implementing CEJA and restoring the public’s trust in our accountability towards the environment. CEJA Can’t Wait.