Illinois Community Leaders Deliver Nearly 35,000 Petitions Asking Governor Rauner to Support the Clean Power Plan

Health, Faith, Clean Energy and Business Leaders Will Urge Governor Rauner To Bring Clean Energy Jobs, New Investment to Revitalize Illinois Communities

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. –(ENEWSPF)—November 12, 2015. Health, faith, clean energy and business leaders delivered nearly 35,000 petitions collected from across the state of Illinois to Governor Bruce Rauner’s office today at the State Capitol in Springfield. The petitions urge Governor Rauner to support the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) historic Clean Power Plan, and urge the Governor and Illinois public officials to prioritize growing jobs in renewable energy and efficiency in Illinois’ state goals to meet the Clean Power Plan.

“We have an historic opportunity before us to put thousands of Illinoisans to work in clean energy,” Shannon Fulton, Director of Business Development, StraightUp Solar. “Renewable energy technology, manufacturing and deployment is a rapidly growing industry, and if we don’t create policies that attract these businesses, Illinois will be left behind. Governor Bruce Rauner must see and seize the opportunity the Clean Power Plan presents to bring clean energy jobs to Illinois.”

Under President Obama’s direction, U.S. EPA finalized the first-ever limits on carbon pollution for existing power plants in August 2015. This historic step by EPA to reduce carbon pollution from the electric sector is the single biggest step our nation has ever taken to address climate change while accelerating clean energy.

“The Clean Power Plan gives Governor Rauner tools to build solutions that ensure that no Illinois community is left behind as we shift to a clean energy economy,” Rev. Dr. Eugene Barnes, Executive Director of Metanoia Centers in Champaign and Vice-president of Illinois People’s Action. “Today, 35,000 Illinoisans are asking Governor Rauner to come to the table now so we can build policies that protect the public health and economic vitality of our communities while bringing new jobs and opportunities to all.”

Now that the Clean Power Plan is final, it is up to states to build state implementation plans that work for each state’s unique energy landscape. States will need to submit initial plans to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency by September 2016. The Rauner Administration will soon need to demonstrate how the state is preparing to meet the Clean Power Plan goals.

“Wind energy development has been a boon to rural counties across the state of Illinois, driving local development, new jobs and revenue,” Chris Nickell, Vice President of Site Establishment at American Wind Energy Management. “If Governor Rauner embraces smart clean energy policies, it will help create tens of thousands of new jobs across IL, and mean more than a billion dollars in savings for Illinois customers off of their electric bills. Clean energy will also attract private capital investment to our state at a time when we need it most.”

Since Illinois set clean energy targets in 2007, wholesale power prices have been cut by $177 million dollars per year, and more than 5 million tons of air pollution have been avoided. The savings from the lowered wholesale power prices have been passed on to consumers.

“The Clean Power Plan gives Governor Rauner tools to build solutions that ensure that no Illinois community is left behind as we shift to a clean energy economy,” Antonio Franco, Vice-President of Student Environmental Action Coalition at Illinois State University and Member of Illinois People’s Action. “Policies that work to cut pollution can also work to create revenue for coal communities and low-income communities to use to invest in for workforce development, and direct bill assistance for consumers.”

The American Lung Association found recently found that more than 6.7 million Illinoisans breathe unhealthy air due to pollution.

“As a parent concerned about my child’s health, I’m proud that we have clean energy solutions to tackle the threat of pollution to our public health right here in Illinois, said Robin Garlish, Peoria Mother and member of the Central Illinois Healthy Community Alliance. “When it’s a matter of the air we breathe, and the health of our families, there’s no time to waste, and no reason to wait. We urge Governor Rauner to support the Clean Power Plan now– rather than make children or seniors to spend another day, another month or another year waiting to breathe cleaner air.”