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*** UPDATED x2 *** Senate’s climate/energy bill currently on life support as Pritzker vows veto

Tuesday, Aug 31, 2021

[Bumped up to Tuesday for visibility]

* The Senate held a hearing today on the new climate/energy bill. But this thing as written isn’t going anywhere even if the Senate passes it tomorrow. From Gov. Pritzker’s office…

The Governor’s position on a comprehensive energy bill has not changed since discussions at the end of session in May and again in June: any energy package needs to lead with ethics and transparency, needs time to be vetted, and must end carbon emissions by a date certain. HB3666, a bill that was not agreed to by environmentalists nor negotiated with all stakeholders, falls short of that standard, and if it reaches the Governor’s desk, he will veto it. The Governor remains committing to finalizing a bill that put consumers and the climate first, moves us to a zero emission future, and leads with ethics and transparency.

Scientists around the world have said we are at a “code red for humanity” and surely they would agree that we cannot wait to 2040 to cut the emissions of Prairie State Energy Campus - the nation’s seventh largest polluter - in half. And a thousand page energy bill affecting both ratepayers and utility interests that have been the subject of a deferred prosecution agreement should not be released on a Monday and voted on the next day.

BACKGROUND

    • The Senate draft was scheduled to be filed at 8:30AM, very shortly after a copy was sent to the administration and stakeholders for the first time.
    • Our review of the 900 page plus bill is still ongoing at this hour.
    • This bill does not reflect previous agreements, in fact, this draft is worse for the planet and better for industries of polluters.
    o The Senate bill does not phase out the dirtier gas plants nearly quickly enough. Even natural gas companies believe the orderly process that would have been created by the Illinois EPA in the Governor’s draft was more workable and responsible.

* House Speaker Chris Welch’s spokesperson Jaclyn Driscoll…

The Speaker is still reviewing the language that was filed this morning, but he has always been clear that before an energy proposal is called in the House there must be a consensus among the Democratic caucus and stakeholders, as well as include strong, meaningful ethics provisions. Leaders Evans, Gabel, and Hoffman have been tenacious advocates at the table throughout these negotiations and Speaker Welch will rely on their advice and guidance as conversations continue.

* And one of those stakeholders is the Sierra Club…

Today, an amendment to HB3666 was introduced in the General Assembly, which fails to act on the urgency of the climate crisis and gives a free pass to the Prairie State coal plant, the largest polluter in Illinois. Despite widespread approval for an energy bill that sets firm deadlines to equitably decarbonize our electric grid and grow Illinois’ clean energy economy, legislators continue to cater to fossil fuel interests. The amendment to HB3666 currently allows Prairie State to continue burning coal without any pollution reductions before 2045, leaves frontline communities vulnerable to short-term pollution increases, and allows fossil fuel companies to appeal to the Illinois Commerce Commission for pollution bailouts. Sierra Club joined other environmental advocates in opposing any bill that jeopardizes people and a livable climate.

Despite Governor Pritzker, legislators, and the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition staring down Exelon, ComEd, and Ameren to demand climate leadership for our state, fossil fuel corporations and special interests on behalf of Prairie State continue to hold Springfield hostage.

In response, Sierra Club Illinois Director Jack Darin released the following statement:

    “We remain confident that an agreement on a comprehensive energy package is absolutely possible, but as currently drafted, Sierra Club cannot support this bill. This summer alone, we have witnessed the hottest July ever documented, extreme weather, and flooding across Illinois. A report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change sounding the alarm of an even graver climate crisis than we thought. This bill must match the urgency of the moment. While it includes many of our priorities to grow an equitable, clean energy economy across Illinois, it does not currently have a decarbonization plan that holds the state’s biggest climate polluters accountable or protects our frontline communities. Coal plants like the Dallman Power Plant and the Prairie State Coal Plant continue to pollute Illinois communities at alarming rates, with the Prairie State Coal Plant killing 76 Illinoisans annually and costing $2 billion a year in damage to our health and environment.

    “The fossil fuel industry has time and again left Illinois workers in a lurch and left communities with toxic legacies and broken promises. Other states are tapping the potential of a booming clean energy economy and without action, Illinois will not only fail to meet the challenges of the climate crises, but will deny the opportunity of clean energy prosperity to generations of Illinoisans. We remain committed to working with legislators and stakeholders to come to an agreement that prioritizes equity, clean energy jobs, and decarbonizes Illinois’ electric grid.”

* IRMA, however, has moved to neutral…

The Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA) released the following statement regarding the proposed energy omnibus legislation:

“From safely storing food and medicine to ensuring shoppers have access to needed goods around the clock, retailers and the consumers they serve need reliable and affordable energy. As a result, IRMA has been an active and engaged stakeholder on energy legislation dating back to our support of, and leadership on, the landmark deregulation of the Illinois energy market in 1997. IRMA was the only statewide business group to support deregulation, which has saved businesses and homeowners billions of dollars and created one of the most reliable grids in the nation. As such, we have expressed concerns about various energy proposals put forth over the last two years. Most notably the added cost and potential reliability issues included in earlier proposals,” said Rob Karr, president & CEO, IRMA.

“However, thanks to the strong leadership demonstrated by Senate President Don Harmon and Senate Pro Tempore Bill Cunningham, IRMA is no longer opposing this legislation following good faith negotiations that took place throughout the summer and leading into this week. While no bill of this complexity is ever perfect, much has been done to temper the costs on retailers and consumers. That includes reducing the overall size of the proposal, instituting caps on costs and attempting to safeguard reliability. We are also pleased the current proposal is taking additional steps to reach zero carbon emissions, as retail companies big and small are doing that proactively. Overall, this updated measure meets our goal of trying to ensure reliable and affordable electricity for retailers in Illinois while addressing climate change.”

*** UPDATE 1 *** IEC…

Following is a statement from Jen Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council, on the latest climate and energy bill released today:

“We stand on the precipice of passing comprehensive climate and equitable jobs legislation in Illinois. This moment comes after a years-long campaign, and our even longer strategic effort to build the power of the environmental movement in Illinois. We have grown a strong voting bloc of environmental champions, who stand shoulder to shoulder with Governor Pritzker and our community in demanding a bill that truly addresses climate change and that includes meaningful equity provisions.

“But this legislation isn’t there yet. Anything short of what Illinoisans deserve or what science demands would be too costly a mistake to make in the climate crisis, particularly for BIPOC communities most impacted. Illinois must plan a clear and certain timeline for ending fossil fuels–and it must do so in this bill.

“The coming days will determine whether legislators are strong enough to side with their constituents, or polluting fossil fuel industries who have called the shots in Springfield for too long. Our clean energy future and the future of generations to come depends on the decisions legislators make over the next few hours. Our movement won’t stop pushing until the General Assembly has passed equitable, comprehensive climate legislation worthy of the people of Illinois.”

*** UPDATE 2 *** Crain’s

Senate President Don Harmon has tried to marry labor’s interests with the greens. He was sanguine Monday evening.

“The Senate president remains optimistic that we’ll find the winning balance of reliable, renewable and affordable energy policies for the people of Illinois,” a spokesman said.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

35 Comments
  1. - A Medsker - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 6:19 pm:

    If we don’t save the nukes, nothing else matters much. Closing them would mean huge surge in emissions, 1000s of jobs lost, grid less robust, dirtier air, shuttered towns. We have mere days left to do that.


  2. - Take yes... - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 6:20 pm:

    “and gives a free pass to the Prairie State coal plant”

    Why won’t they take yes for an answer? The bill requires Prairie State to do 95% carbon capture and storage (not technologically nor economically viable) and to pull another 10% of CO2 out of the air (no such technology exists) and if they can’t, they will be forced to shut down. Pssst, that’s a closure requirement. There is zero chance on this planet that plant can continue with those restrictions.

    Prairie State is a dog. Horrible plant. Massive polluter. Obscenely expensive. It should close. Under this legislation it will.


  3. - Perrid - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 6:20 pm:

    I haven’t read the bill so I can’t really speak to it, but it’s funny to me that JB’s office says it’s now worse for the planet and NOW IRMA is for it…funny how that works out, isn’t it.


  4. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 6:23 pm:

    === • This bill does not reflect previous agreements, in fact, this draft is worse for the planet and better for industries of polluters.

    o The Senate bill does not phase out the dirtier gas plants nearly quickly enough. Even natural gas companies believe the orderly process that would have been created by the Illinois EPA in the Governor’s draft was more workable and responsible.===

    I wouldn’t call this being “close”, yep, “life support” is… wow.

    Anything can happen, but the governor abd the parameters are making it real tough


  5. - Just Me 2 - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 6:45 pm:

    The biggest consumers of energy in the State are Chicago Public Schools and Chicago Transit Authority. What is their position?


  6. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 6:54 pm:

    === The biggest consumers of energy in the State are Chicago Public Schools and Chicago Transit Authority.===

    You have cite for that?

    Thanks.


  7. - ROD - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 7:09 pm:

    sounds like something a former governor would say to the GA


  8. - joe - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 7:14 pm:

    How can ~1000 pages be comprehended this quickly to claim transparency and know ethical practices?
    Given how CO2 disperses nationally - globally, can someone please explain to me how the State of ILL benefits environmentally or economically if all fossil is shut down?
    Given history: why believe anything CommEd-Exelon says? You really think folks will be fired from an asset they are trying to sell?


  9. - DuPage - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 7:25 pm:

    They should authorize priority to fast track new power lines for wind energy. Maybe they could get some federal infrastructure money to pay for part of it. They could run it along I88 from Rock Island to the collar counties.


  10. - reduce rent - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 7:29 pm:

    Can Pritzker spell OVERRIDE?


  11. - 47th Ward - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 7:43 pm:

    ===Can Pritzker spell OVERRIDE?===

    Can vulnerable legislators read a calendar? The Exelon/McClain/Doherty trials begin during the stretch run to November 2022.


  12. - Pat - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 7:55 pm:

    Joe- at this point the energy bill is out of ComEd/Exelon hands. The solar, nuclear, and labor portions are all agreed upon. The only hang up for months now has been Prairie State, which was a bad deal from jump street. And yes, the nukes will close without legislation, in my opinion. A nuke plant in an unregulated market without subsidies is a liability, not an assets. It’s worth less than zero.


  13. - ESR - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 8:41 pm:

    Although this is very well already outdated and a deal could be done, gridlock would be wonderful here, if only for the reason that citizens could get back a fraction of their resources squandered on quixotic windmills (and sun panels).


  14. - Cubs lose - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 8:42 pm:

    Someone please help the Governor understand that Prairie State will continue to operate if the bill doesn’t pass. If the bill does pass Prairie State will stop operations in the early 2040’s.


  15. - Been There - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 9:09 pm:

    ====HB3666, a bill that was not agreed to by environmentalists nor negotiated with all stakeholders,====
    Well just give the enviro’s cart blanch while you are at it. What a statement. I get that Harmon is all for the unions but if he said while negotiations are going “if the unions are not 100% for it then its not going anywhere” I would be upset with him also. Unless both the enviro’s and the unions are both not happy this bill will never be soup. Get some PR people that get that and negotiate instead of laying down a marker that the legislators can’t bet on. Don’t forget it won’t get to you unless that happens.

    And FYI I don’t even have a dog in this fight.


  16. - Been There - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 9:17 pm:

    ====“The coming days will determine whether legislators are strong enough to side with their constituents, =====
    I like Jen but she and her followers basically live on the north side or north shore or the tony burbs of Chicago. Nothing wrong with that but it is definitely not over 50% of this state.


  17. - Basic - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 9:30 pm:

    Consumer prices will simply be too high under this whacked-out plan. Even the head in the clouds environmental extremists have no answer for that.


  18. - One Opinion - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 9:37 pm:

    Thank you President Harmon and Leader Cunningham for doing the hard but necessary work of finding workable, balanced outcomes. We need more leaders like them.


  19. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 9:39 pm:

    === Senate President Don Harmon has tried to marry labor’s interests with the greens. He was sanguine Monday evening.

    “The Senate president remains optimistic that we’ll find the winning balance of reliable, renewable and affordable energy policies for the people of Illinois,” a spokesman said.===

    Optimism is fading fast.


  20. - Thomas Paine - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 9:59 pm:

    Member management or Constituency management?

    Seems like Labor is the bigger issue. Harmon maybe trying to force JB to meet with the unions and win them over 1-on-1?


  21. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 10:01 pm:

    === Seems like Labor is the bigger issue. Harmon maybe trying to force JB to meet with the unions and win them over 1-on-1?===

    Seems more like Harmon and his CoS are trying to appease folks that have other interests?


  22. - Minnie Pearl Jam - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 11:47 pm:

    One Opinion @ 9:37:

    Agreed. Harmon and Cunningham are grinding out a statewide deal.

    Walling and Darin are making sure the will of the 47th Ward is the law of the land, to paraphrase a former Gov.


  23. - Give Us Barabbas - Tuesday, Aug 31, 21 @ 6:41 am:

    If the bill dies, things go on as they have. That’s not coincidence. The nuke fleet is aging out, nearing retirement, with no replacement plants on the drawing boards. This is what decades of neglect and kick-the-can in Springfield have brought us.


  24. - Senator Clay Davis - Tuesday, Aug 31, 21 @ 7:22 am:

    “making the will of the 47th Ward the law of the land”

    LOL


  25. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Tuesday, Aug 31, 21 @ 7:50 am:

    == Coal plants like the Dallman Power Plant ==

    I don’t think Darin and the Governor are going to be on Langfelder’s holiday card list this year.


  26. - Howard - Tuesday, Aug 31, 21 @ 7:53 am:

    Very little discussion on the politics of the vote should an agreement be reached. Will there be any; GOP support? Can you get to 71-36-1?


  27. - Anon221 - Tuesday, Aug 31, 21 @ 8:53 am:

    Finally tracked down the link to the Senate Amendment to HB3666-

    https://ilga.gov/legislation/102/HB/PDF/10200HB3666sam001.pdf

    Was in this article-

    https://capitolnewsillinois.com/NEWS/energy-bill-could-see-a-vote-as-state-lawmakers-return-for-redistricting-session


  28. - Biker - Tuesday, Aug 31, 21 @ 9:02 am:

    Again, all that needs to pass today is the $317 needs reauthorization. That’s the only need. If they can keep the nukes online a few more years, might as well. Battery installations are at lowest penetration of wind, solar PV and battery. If we can get bidirectional charging in the mainstream we can get our EVs to help with overnight base load


  29. - Thomas Paine - Tuesday, Aug 31, 21 @ 9:30 am:

    === e the will of the 47th Ward is the law of the land, ===

    According to the Pew Center, 2/3 of Americans believe the government is not doing enough about climate change, climate change should be a top priority, and climate change is “worth the cost” of higher consumer bills and job displacements.

    If you have Illinois polling that says otherwise I would love to see it, but otherwise it is safe to say that climate change is an issue that stretches far, far beyond the Chicago Lakefront.

    You think Governor Pritzker has bad polling on this one, okay pal.

    But regardless, as the Capfax Bard likes to say, “60-30-1”.

    If you think that ComEd has the votes to roll over this sitting Governor, show me the names of the Republicans in the House that are siding with Organized Labor and Mike Madigan’s alleged co-conspirators.


  30. - SpiDem - Tuesday, Aug 31, 21 @ 9:42 am:

    Hard not to feel that the Senate Democrats have turned their back on the skillset of their past leaders, and have adopted the strategies of that most successful of legislative leaders, Lee Daniels.


  31. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Aug 31, 21 @ 9:46 am:

    ===“60-30-1”===

    In this case, it’s 71-36-1.


  32. - Anon221 - Tuesday, Aug 31, 21 @ 10:14 am:

    Committee hearing originally for 10:30 am this morning has been pushed back to 11:15 am- https://ilga.gov/senate/schedules/dailyhearings.asp


  33. - Anon221 - Tuesday, Aug 31, 21 @ 11:26 am:

    Hearing pushed back to 1 pm.


  34. - walker - Tuesday, Aug 31, 21 @ 11:51 am:

    Is Harmon trying to test the limits of any “agreed bill” process?


  35. - Thomas Paine - Tuesday, Aug 31, 21 @ 1:31 pm:

    === In this case, it’s 71-36-1. ===

    Good point, its not impossible that the IBEW will get JB to flip, but they would have to get to 60-30 first, with the threat of a veto, before they could even get to a 71-36 situation.

    I am not ruling anything out, though. The IDES mess and other issues have really strained relationships with the Governor’s office, and lawmakers dont like being taken for granted. One thing you cant accuse ComEd of is taking legislators for granted, their love flows like a river.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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