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'We're almost at the wire': Illinois Sen. Rezin Laments General Assembly Inaction To Save Nuclear Plants

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Victoria Lunacek
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Illinois State Senator Sue Rezin represents a district that includes three of the six nuclear power plants in Illinois -- including the Dresden station set to close this fall.

There’s less than a month before the Byron plant’s closure and legislation has stalled.

“The biggest mistake that was made when we were called back in June was not to call [for a vote] the governor's version of the energy bill,” said Rezin, a Republican from Morris. She said she’s frustrated with Democrats, who hold supermajorities in the General Assembly.

“They're not even close to having enough votes to pass this bill,” she said. “So, it would have forced them to come to the table and to negotiate on the bill. Since then, here we are, we're almost at the wire.

The legislature had a nuclear agreement in the spring, but the addition of a plan to phase out coal and natural plants has been a sticking point since – especially as some municipal utilities partially own coal plants.

The Assembly will be back in Springfield on Aug. 31 for a special session on redistricting, but many hope lawmakers will also use that time to address an energy bill.

Rezin is the minority spokesperson of the Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee and also sits on a national energy supply task force.

She believes this problem requires a federal fix and says the Biden administration has stressed the importance of nuclear and potential tax credits built into energy bills which could help alleviate situations like Illinois’.

Congressman Adam Kinzinger recently called on the Biden administration to use emergency powers to save the nuclear power plants.

But federal help may not come that soon, it’ll be up to Illinois lawmakers -- and they only have days left.

The two plants employ over 1,000 people and supply 30% of Illinois’ carbon-free energy.

Peter joins WNIJ as a graduate of North Central College. He is a native of Sandwich, Illinois.