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Climate Jobs Illinois Applauds Senate Passage of Clean Energy Legislation to Create Thousands of Union Jobs, put State on Path to be 100% Carbon Free by 2045

By Staff - Climate Jobs Illinois, September 2021

Labor coalition urges Gov. Pritzker to sign bill immediately

Legislation sets national precedent for labor standards on clean energy projects, expands job and apprenticeships for Black and Latinx communities

UPDATE: Governor Pritzker signed this bill into law.

Springfield, Ill. — Labor coalition Climate Jobs Illinois (CJI) praised the Illinois Senate’s passage of historic legislation to move Illinois to a carbon-free economy by 2045 and called on Gov. Pritzker to sign SB2408 immediately to get thousands of union members and new apprentices from Black and Latinx communities to work building the state’s clean energy infrastructure of the future.

CJI Executive Director Joe Duffy issued the following statement after the Senate vote:

“We commend our partners in the Senate for their steadfast leadership and their commitment to getting this bill over the finish line. What this legislation proves is that we don’t have to choose between jobs and a cleaner, fairer future. We can do both.

With this landmark legislation, we will build the clean energy economy of the future—powered by union jobs—to reverse generations of carbon emissions and build a pathway to the middle class for new generations of highly trained workers from historically disinvested communities. We will justly transition from fossil fuels and raise the bar on transparency and accountability for utilities and energy developers in the greater interest of ratepayers and consumers.

This bill is the most pro-worker, pro-climate legislation in the country and will establish Illinois as a leader in fighting the climate crisis. The urgent need for bold climate action cannot wait any longer, and we can’t wait to get to work building a cleaner, fairer future for Illinois. We urge Gov. Pritzker to immediately sign this legislation.”

SB 2408 sets the strongest clean energy labor standards in the country and promises to raise the bar for other states seeking to enact new labor and employment policies for building and maintaining clean energy developments.

The bill will create thousands of new clean energy union jobs, expand union apprenticeships for Black and Latinx communities, increase energy efficiency for public schools and safeguard thousands of union workers at the state’s nuclear plants that currently generate the bulk of Illinois’ zero-emissions energy.

Specifically, major provisions of the bill include:

  • 50% renewable energy by 2040 and zero carbon emissions by 2045
  • All privately owned coal generation closed by 2030; municipally-owned coal plants to reach zero carbon emissions by 2045
  • $700 million in negotiated subsidies for the Byron, Dresden, Braidwood nuclear plants for 5 years to sustain Illinois’ primary source of current clean energy
  • Expanded apprenticeship and training programs to increase representation of Black and Latinx communities in the energy workforce, with required diversity hiring reports by renewable industry employers
  • Strongest labor standards in the country on wind and solar developments
    • Project labor agreements required on all utility-scale wind and solar projects and prevailing wages for all non-residential clean energy projects
  • “Just transition” program for areas economically reliant on fossil fuel generation
  • 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2030, with state rebates funding up to 80% of charging station installation and requires prevailing wages on installation
  • Increased energy efficiency for public schools
  • Increased accountability and transparency — return to traditional ratemaking vs. formula rates, and requires utilities to establish a chief ethics and compliance officer who must report to the Illinois Commerce Commission

Climate Jobs Illinois represents the hundreds of thousands of Illinois working men and women who are best equipped to build Illinois’ new clean-energy economy from the ground up. Executive Committee members of Climate Jobs Illinois are: Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters, Illinois Education Association, Illinois Federation of Teachers, International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers Union, the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers State Council, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 134, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150, Laborers International Union of North America Great Lakes Region, Laborers International Union of North America Midwest Region, Service Employees International Union State Council and United Auto Workers Region 4.

Climate Jobs Illinois is a state affiliate of the Climate Jobs National Resource Center. CJI has partnered with The Project for Middle Class Renewal at UIUC, Illinois Economic Policy Institute and Cornell University Worker Institute.

To learn more, visit https://climatejobsillinois.org, and follow CJI at @ClimateJobsIL on Twitter or join its Facebook page.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author.

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