Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said in his State of the State address Wednesday that “urgent action” is needed this session to deal with climate change.
“Adopting new clean energy legislation," Pritzker said, "that reduces carbon pollution, promotes renewable energy, and accelerates electrification of our transportation sector.”
The governor said Illinois is already suffering from the effects of climate change. He cited last year’s polar vortex and devastating floods as examples.
Pritzker stressed any legislation must put consumers and climate first -- not utility companies.
His comments drew praise from advocates of new renewable energy legislation, both inside and outside the Capitol.
State Representative Will Davis (D-East Hazel Crest), the Illinois House sponsor of the Path to 100 Act that seeks to increase the State's renewable energy portfolio, lauded the governor in a media interview following the address:
"Governor Pritzker understands the need to pass legislation this spring that will allow renewable energy to continue growing and avoid a development cliff in Illinois. Renewable energy businesses right now are creating a substantial and diverse workforce across all Illinois communities. Those renewable companies support the Path to 100 Act because it will allow them to continue that trend. The industry is hard at work building more than 7,000 wind and solar projects across the state that will fight climate change and lower energy costs. Illinois has the tools to build on that progress, benefit consumers, and avoid a clean energy cliff. We look forward to working with the administration to make Illinois a leader in clean energy and the fight against climate change.”
Christie Hicks is the senior attorney for the Environmental Defense Fund. She issued the following statement in response to the governor's comments:
“EDF is encouraged by Governor Pritzker’s call for clean energy legislation in today’s State of the State. We believe passage of the Clean Energy Jobs Act is the best path to creating jobs, protecting the health and wellbeing of Illinoisans across the state, and ensuring economic benefits for all. Time is of the essence, especially now that federal regulators have tried to impose an obsolete system on Illinois that will force customers to pay hundreds of millions of dollars more for an energy mix that favors polluters.”
Legislation stalled last year amidst a federal investigation of utility giant ComEd and its parent company Exelon.