BENTON – State Representative Dave Severin (R-Benton) announced this week he is sponsoring legislation that would dismantle the “Green New Deal” bill sponsored by Chicago Democrats and signed by Gov. JB Pritzker. Severin says liberal progressives running Illinois government have gone too far with their green agenda, costing everyone more for energy and causing unnecessary threats to the power grid.
“The 2021 Climate and Equity Jobs Act (CEJA) is responsible for massive job loss, rising energy costs, and threatening the energy grid throughout the State of Illinois,” Severin said. “I’m for an all-of-the-above approach when it comes to being energy independent, and I find the threat of individuals and businesses going bankrupt, and the real possibility of brownouts and blackouts due to reckless Democrat-sponsored energy policies completely unacceptable. Illinois has already lost four downstate coal plants, accounting for more than 2,000 MW of reliable energy, since Governor Pritzker has taken office. The people I represent cannot afford for the State of Illinois to sit idly by while our energy security is being threatened. My bills will prevent even more price increases and eliminate grid instability for our residents that expect and deserve affordable, reliable energy.”
Citing major concerns he’s heard from constituents and large and small employers alike, Severin is sponsoring three major pieces of legislation he says will restore Illinois to a position of energy independence while cutting costs for consumers and businesses and securing the power grid against blackouts and brownouts.
HB 5780 would repurpose $10 million from fees already collected by Illinois ratepayers for renewables for the purpose of retrofitting coal and natural gas plants with carbon capturing technology. The bill also includes the creation of a new Power Grid Task Force to study the effect of state laws, including CEJA, on energy prices as well as grid reliability. The task force would also be charged with exploring ways to improve the power supply mix within the state using existing energy resources and new technologies, with the stated goal of ensuring the future stability and reliability of Illinois’ power grid. The bill will consider the present and future needs of Illinois consumers while simultaneously addressing any issues related to the performance and reliability of power generation in Illinois.
“Illinois has the capacity and capability to produce some of the cleanest burning coal-fired power in the world,” Severin said. “Arbitrarily closing ‘peaker’ power plants before renewable energy is ready to take their place is a recipe for disaster. Unfortunately, due to Illinois and other states in the Midwest adopting radical energy policies, our citizens are now facing rolling blackouts and massive price spikes for electricity customers. Permanently shutting down power plants that could otherwise be retrofitted to reduce their carbon emissions puts our state’s energy producing capacity at risk and has already caused costs to spike to unacceptable and unaffordable levels.”
HB 5781 repeals the forced 2045 closure date for coal and natural gas power plants that was implemented under the provisions of CEJA, which was signed by Governor Pritzker in 2021. The bill would also allow companies to build new gas peaker plants without the fear of forced closure to ensure Illinois’ grid will be able to meet its demand.
HB 5782 would eliminate red tape at the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that has been preventing new power plants from coming online in a timely manner by expediting the state permitting process.
“We have an energy emergency going on for working families, seniors on fixed incomes, and small and large businesses in Illinois. There is an ongoing threat to the power grid because of irresponsible energy policies supported by President Biden, Governor Pritzker, and Illinois Democrats at every level.” Severin said. “My legislation would streamline the permitting process to keep up with the demand for energy to prevent unnecessary stress on the grid and outrageous price hikes. Illinois has massive reserves of energy fuel. Our state should be a net exporter of energy while providing our citizens with cheap, clean, reliable, and efficient energy service. This legislative package would restore our state’s ability to generate and deliver electricity, cut costs for consumers and businesses, and ensure the reliability of the power grid well into the future.”