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Illinois Employers Seek a Clean Energy Future With Ambitious Climate Legislation

SOURCE: Ceres

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September 9, 2021 /3BL Media/ - Ceres and several major employers in Illinois urge the state’s House of Representatives to finalize much-needed climate and clean energy legislation.

“Illinois has an opportunity to pass one of the boldest climate bills in the nation and lead the Midwest’s transition to a clean energy future,” said Alli Gold Roberts, director of state policy at the sustainability nonprofit Ceres. “Companies, investors, and major employers across Illinois strongly support wide-reaching legislation that will serve as the bedrock of a just and inclusive clean energy economy. It’s time to get this bill done and take critical action to grow the state’s economy, protect its communities, and ensure quality jobs for its workers by confronting the daunting challenges of the climate crisis.”

“The current climate crisis poses significant public health threats to Illinois and its residents,” said Patrick Lyons, Senior Vice President of Facilities at Advocate Aurora Health. “We are grateful for the work of the General Assembly and look forward to meaningful legislation that will clean the air, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and ensure a healthy environment for the next generation of Illinois residents.”

"Now is the time for the General Assembly to finalize ambitious climate legislation that includes strong measures to increase the availability and affordability of electric vehicles, develop a clean energy future, expand renewable energy, and create green jobs," said Judy Martinez-Faye, head of external affairs, Midwest Region and Texas, Siemens USA. “More and more companies, including ours, are taking steps to electrify their fleets, because we cannot solve the climate crisis without cleaning up our transportation systems. It’s crucial for state policies to ensure Illinois businesses and residents are at the forefront of this transition.”

“We commend the General Assembly for advancing meaningful climate and energy legislation, and encourage lawmakers to complete this important work soon,” said Brian F. Peters, chief executive officer, SCS Logistics. “As a longtime operator of home appliance recycling programs, SCS Logistics knows firsthand the value of strong energy efficiency policies. This bill will advance the clean energy and energy efficiency industries and generate good jobs across Illinois, all while lowering energy waste—an opportunity we cannot afford to pass up.”

“Our company has worked with businesses across Illinois — including grocery stores, community colleges, and large industrial customers — to help them invest in efficient technologies that save them money and energy. We are pleased that lawmakers are on the verge of passing new legislation that will help even more businesses take advantage of clean energy,” said Gary Swanson, president and chief executive officer, Energy Management Solutions, Inc. “The measures in this bill will benefit consumers, workers, and communities across the state, and we urge the House to finalize this necessary law soon.”

The negotiations in the House follow the passage of Senate Bill 18 in late August. The Senate proposal is an important step toward establishing key climate policies in the state, including: the phase-out of coal plants by 2045; a commitment for 100% of electricity to come from clean sources by 2050; prevailing wage rules for workers; and new electric vehicle and energy efficiency incentives. As the bill moves to the House, lawmakers have the opportunity to address interim measures to reduce emissions from coal plants before 2045.

“We applaud the Senate for advancing this long-debated bill, and for including many important policies and investments that will help Illinois achieve emissions reductions,” Roberts added. “We now call on the House to take further action and ambition that will ensure these goals are met with the urgency needed to prevent the kinds of severe climate impacts that have become increasingly common across the U.S.”

Earlier in the legislative session, Ceres coordinated a group of more than 20 businesses and organizations calling on the General Assembly to pass comprehensive clean energy legislation. CommonSpirit Health, Impossible Foods, Mars, Microsoft, Salesforce, and the University of Illinois were among the signatories to the February letter.

“We must take advantage of clean energy technologies including renewables, energy efficiency, energy storage, and electric vehicles in order to remain competitive and cutting edge in the marketplace,” they wrote.

Illinois lawmakers considered several climate-related bills this legislative session. Although the bill was not passed before a May 31 deadline, the General Assembly returned for a special session to consider the package.

About Ceres

Ceres is a nonprofit organization working with the most influential capital market leaders to solve the world’s greatest sustainability challenges. Through our powerful networks and global collaborations of investors, companies and nonprofits, we drive action and inspire equitable market-based and policy solutions throughout the economy to build a just and sustainable future. For more information, visit ceres.org and follow @CeresNews.

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KEYWORDS: Clean Energy, renewable energy, Illinois, illinois senate

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