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Perspective: It's Time For Sturdy Midwesterners To Take A Stand

Victoria Lunacek

Sometimes I like to come up with a hashtag that hasn’t been used before on Instagram. Someone called it Hashtag Pioneering. I liked that. My favorite was #sturdymidwesterners.

In Illinois, we brag about things like shoveling the driveway in a t-shirt and surviving a summer pregnancy. The thing is, we are spoiled by reliable electricity that comforts us after a hot day. That would change if the Byron and Dresden nuclear power plants are shut down. Without those plants, Illinois will suffer from regular outages on high capacity days, like Seattle did during last week’s heat wave and like Dallas did after an ice storm.

Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Legislature need to finish the job of passing energy legislation that invests in nuclear power. There is more than my personal comfort at stake. We will pay for these closings with our local economies. 28,000 people will lose their job at the nuclear plants. As the Director of the Byron Public Library District, I will be one of thousands more who will lose their job because of an indirect connection to the plant.

When Exelon announced that the Byron power plant would close, I sat at my desk, stunned, and then started researching. I am a librarian in a small town and never thought I’d need to know about the business of nuclear plants. But, none of us can ignore it, no matter how Midwestern sturdy we are.

I’m Emily Porter, and that’s my perspective.

Emily Porter is a mother, wife, and librarian. Currently, she is the Director of the Byron Public Library District and someday, she hopes to be the owner of a lakefront cabin.