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Revised Nuclear Bailout Bill Wins Committee Approval

Legislation to bail Exelon Energy out in Illinois has been approved by a state House committee. (Sierra Club)
Legislation to bail Exelon Energy out in Illinois has been approved by a state House committee. (Sierra Club)
November 30, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Both sides say they're happy after the state House Energy Committee approved the Future Energy Jobs Bill on Tuesday. The Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition, which is made up of environmental and business groups, faith organizations and the Citizens Utility Board, said this revised version of the legislation is much better for consumers and the environment.

Environmental groups balked at what they said was a "nuclear bailout bill." They helped negotiate changes to it, including stripping out coal subsidies and demand charges.

Sierra Club Illinois Chapter Director Jack Darin said this could be a big win for state residents because it further reduces reliance on coal. He said the next step is to get the Legislature and the governor on board.

"That is on the table in Springfield this week, and we're really hopeful that legislators and the governor can agree that seizing the benefits of the clean-energy economy are a win for Illinois, for today and for the future," he said.

Exelon and Com Ed say the legislation will keep Illinois' electric rates competitive, preserve and create thousands of jobs and expand clean energy.

Darin said Illinois has been missing out on millions of dollars in private investment and hundreds of jobs because the renewable-energy policies in the state are "broken," but he thinks this legislation moves the state in the right direction.

"Whether you're from downstate Illinois, from the Chicago area, this is the right choice for our future and this is an example of where compromise can be reached and can benefit us all," he added. "Hopefully that happens this week."

The plan would provide $235 million a year for Exelon for 13 years, to reward the company because nuclear energy is produced without emitting damaging greenhouse gases.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - IL