Leading the Charge for Clean Jobs in Illinois

The Clean Power Lake County delegation is ready to lead the charge for passage of the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill . [Photo by Alex Morgan/Sierra Club.]
Members of the Clean Power Lake County Campaign visit the State Capitol in Springfield to help lead the charge for passage of the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill. [Photo by Alex Morgan/Sierra Club.]

While most of you have been dodging April showers, filing your tax returns and mustering hope that this year will be the year for the Chicago Cubs, Clean Power Lake County’s “climate avengers” have been helping lead the charge to pass the bipartisan Illinois Clean Jobs Bill in Springfield.

The Illinois Clean Jobs Bill (HB 2607/SB1485) will cut energy use through efficiency, increase use of renewable wind and solar energy, and create an estimated 32,000 jobs annually. The bill is supported by more than 41 co-sponsors in the Illinois House, 21 co-sponsors in the Illinois Senate and a coalition of more than 70 businesses and 30 organizations.

On April 22—Earth Day—nearly two dozen Clean Power Lake County coalition representatives rallied alongside more than 500 other Illinoisans at the state capitol to support the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill, clean energy and climate action. (Check our our Facebook photo album and watch WAND-TV video coverage of the rally.)

Illinois State Representative Rita Mayfield speaks with Waukegan resident Maryfran Troha at Clean Power Lake County's Clean Jobs Forum in Waukegan on April 8. [Photo by Karen Long MacLeod/Clean Power Lake County Campaign.]
Illinois State Representative Rita Mayfield speaks with Waukegan resident Maryfran Troha at Clean Power Lake County’s Clean Jobs Forum in Waukegan on April 8. [Photo by Karen Long MacLeod/Clean Power Lake County Campaign.]
A constituent speaks with Illinois State Senator Julie Morrison at Clean Power Lake County's Clean Jobs Forum in Waukegan, held April 8. [Photo by Karen Long MacLeod/Clean Power Lake County Campaign.]
A constituent speaks with Illinois State Senator Julie Morrison at Clean Power Lake County’s Clean Jobs Forum in Waukegan, held April 8. [Photo by Karen Long MacLeod/Clean Power Lake County Campaign.]
 

On April 8, two of the bill’s co-sponsors, State Representative Rita Mayfield and State Senator Julie Morrison, received rounds of applause during a Waukegan forum when they said the measure would lower consumers’ utility bills, bring clean energy investment to more communities, strengthen local tax bases, create thousands of family-sustaining jobs and reduce dangerous pollution from coal-fired power plants. The forum was sponsored by the Clean Power Lake County Campaign.

The Clean Jobs Bill improves upon the 2007 Illinois Renewable Portfolio Standard in several ways:

  • Increases the share of power coming from renewable sources to 35% by 2030
  • Raises the state’s energy efficiency standard with 20% energy reductions by 2025
  • Proposes a market-based strategy to reduce carbon emissions from power plants, which is required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan

The bill also contains several provisions to help disadvantaged communities, such as bringing more solar installations and workforce development to low-income communities, and building solar arrays on contaminated lands often located in disadvantaged communities.

Equally important for residents of a cash-strapped state, “this legislation doesn’t cost the taxpayer anything,” Mayfield said during the Waukegan forum.

Ready to help? Please sign the official Illinois Sierra Club petition to ask your representatives to support the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill.

Clean Jobs Forum Focuses on Economic Opportunity for Lake County

Illinois' existing Renewable Portfolio Standard has already created more than 20,000 jobs. Standards in the new Illinois Clean Jobs Bill could create 32,000 additional jobs.
Illinois’ existing Renewable Portfolio Standard has already created more than 20,000 jobs. Standards in the new Illinois Clean Jobs Bill could create 32,000 additional jobs.

Policy leaders participating in the Clean Jobs Forum 2015, to be held April 8, 2015, in downtown Waukegan, will discuss the main components of the recently introduced Illinois Clean Jobs Bill, and how the bill can bolster clean energy development and jobs in communities like Waukegan and North Chicago.

Featured speakers include State Sen. Julie Morrison (29th District); State Rep. Rita Mayfield (60th District); Jack Darin, director of the Illinois Sierra Club; and Sarah Moskowitz, outreach director for the Citizens Utility Board.

The bipartisan Clean Jobs Bill (HB 2607/SB1485) would strengthen energy efficiency policies, ramp up Illinois’ wind and solar industries, and pursue market-based strategies to meet new federal carbon limits. Once fully implemented, the standards would create an estimated 32,000 jobs annually across Illinois. They also would protect Illinois residents from the impacts of climate change while maintaining a reliable and affordable electricity system.

Event Summary
What: Clean Jobs Forum 2015
Where: Most Blessed Trinity Academy, 510 Grand Ave., Waukegan, IL 60085
When: Wednesday, April 8, 2015, 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
RSVP and questions: Alex Morgan, alex.morgan@sierraclub.org

The Clean Jobs Forum is organized by the Clean Power Lake County Campaign, a grassroots coalition of community, faith and environmental groups dedicated to building a healthy, clean energy future for Lake County.

Standing Strong for Waukegan’s Lakefront

Clean Power Waukegan hands across the sand_sq_09-28-14_docsize
More than 120 people stand together on Waukegan’s Municipal Beach—in view of the coal-fired NRG plant—to demand healthier a clean-energy economy. [Photo by Karen Long MacLeod/courtesy of Clean Power Lake County Campaign]
How does it feel to cross through the dunes that line the Waukegan lakefront, plant your feet in the warm sand, gaze out across the clear blue water of Lake Michigan on a picture-perfect day, and stand hand in hand with friends old and new in a line as long as two football fields end to end?

“Inclusive.” “Far-reaching.” “Inspiring.”

You know you are standing up for something that’s worth protecting. You know you are in good company.

That’s how we felt after Hands Across the Sand: Solidarity for Clean Water & Clean Power, a beach sweep and clean-energy rally hosted by the Clean Power Lake County Campaign on Sunday, September 28, at Waukegan’s Municipal Beach.

And we felt that way whether we hailed from the lakefront communities of Waukegan, North Chicago, Zion or Winthrop Harbor, from other Lake County communities, or even from Joliet and Peoria.

Dulce “Candy” Ortiz and Antonio Lopez.
Antonio Lopez (second from right), executive director of the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization in Chicago, presents a bandana from the People’s Climate Justice Summit as a souvenir to Dulce “Candy” Ortiz (second from left) of Waukegan in recognition of their common goals of environmental, economic and social justice. Lopez marched in the People’s Climate March in New York City on September 21 and attended the People’s Climate Justice Summit September 22-23. Also shown: Sister Kathleen Long (left) of Most Blessed Trinity Parish of Waukegan, and David Villalobos (right) of Waukegan. [Photo by Karen Long MacLeod/ courtesy of Clean Power Lake County Campaign]
Beach sweep during Hands Across the Sand.
Volunteers picked up enough trash to fill dozens of garbage bags during a sweep of Waukegan’s Municipal Beach. [Photo by Karen Long MacLeod/courtesy of Clean Power Lake County Campaign]
Why we felt so good after Hands Across the Sand:

  • We picked up enough litter to fill dozens of garbage bags, which helped enhance Waukegan’s lakefront for the enjoyment of its many visitors.
  • We introduced several people who’d never visited Waukegan’s beach to a unique, irreplaceable natural resource.
  • We learned how healthier clean-energy economies ensure environmental, economic and social justice.

For more details, check out our 9/29/14 press release or the 9/29/14 story in the Lake County News-Sun.

Join Hands Across the Sand to Call for Clean Water and Clean Power

NRG Energy’s recent decision to continue burning coal at its plants in Waukegan, Pekin, and Romeoville, Illinois, condemns the surrounding communities to more years of deadly air and water pollution.

On Sunday, September 28, community leaders who live next to these plants will join forces at Waukegan Municipal Beach in Waukegan, Illinois, to demand a fossil fuel-free, clean energy future for their communities.

The event, hosted by the Clean Power Lake County Campaign, will kick off at 2 p.m. with a beach clean-up. Afterward, at approximately 2:45 p.m., community leaders and environmental experts will share their hopes for a cleaner, healthier future.

Scheduled speakers include Dulce “Candy” Ortiz and David Villalobos, Clean Power Lake County; Ellen Rendulich, Citizens Against Ruining the Environment (CARE); Tracy Fox, Peoria Families Against Toxic Waste; and Faith Bugel, Environmental Law & Policy Center.

We will stand together on Waukegan’s beach to send a clear message that our communities are ready for a healthy clean energy future.

Will you stand with us?

Event Summary

What: Hands Across the Sand: Solidarity for Clean Water and Clean Power

Where: Waukegan Municipal Beach, 201 Sea Horse Drive, Waukegan, IL 60085 (parking fees will be waived; park in North Lot by the beach)

When: Sunday, September 28, 2014, 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

RSVP and questions: Christine.nannicelli@sierraclub.org