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Byron community celebrates legislative win saving the Exelon nuclear plant

Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco

The Byron community spent the last year on a mission to save the Exelon nuclear plant from shuttering.

Christine Lynde, president of the Byron school board, was optimistic the whole time that the state legislature would pass an energy bill saving the Exelon generating station in Byron and thousands of local jobs. If it closed, the regional economic impact could have been severe.

Lynde says it was harder to stay positive when the last day came and a plan was still out of reach. When the plan was approved, she says she was in disbelief at first, then felt relief and pride.

“How do you keep people fired up and engaged all the way through the end of May not having any idea we were gonna have to do until the middle of September? That was one of our big worries,” she said. “But it turns out that this community is just there. I mean, they have each other's backs.”

Byron will hold a community celebration event on Saturday, Oct. 9 at 3:30 p.m. at Byron High School. Local lawmakers and organizers will speak. There will be food and even a children’s musical performance.

“[It’s] just really to have an opportunity to say thank you to our community who, at every turn, were ready, willing and available to support our causes,” said Lynde. “I mean, you can ask anybody in this area, ‘Do you know what a witness slip is?’ They’d be like, ‘Oh, yeah, sure we do! Be sure to fill in this box!’”

The sweeping clean energy plan hopes to put Illinois on track to 100% renewable energy by 2050. Exelon also received nearly $700 million in state subsidies.

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