2016-04-21 CPLC Press Release

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Waukegan Residents Join Hundreds in Springfield for Earth Day Rally

Citizens From Across the State Call for Prompt Passage of Illinois Clean Jobs Bill (HB 2607/SB 1485)

WAUKEGAN, ILL. (April 21, 2016)—More than 40 people from Waukegan and surrounding Lake County communities celebrated Earth Day by traveling to the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, joining approximately 300 people from across the state in calling for prompt passage of the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill.

The bipartisan Illinois Clean Jobs Bill (HB 2607/SB 1485) is supported by more than 41 co-sponsors in the House, 21 co-sponsors in the Senate, and a coalition of more than 160 businesses and 60 organizations and is viewed as a key to getting Illinois’ economy rolling.

In the year since the bill was introduced, Illinois has lost 152 solar and 431 wind jobs, while Michigan has added nearly 700 solar jobs and Ohio has added more than 500 solar jobs, said Michelle Knox, owner of WindSolar USA in Owaneco.

“We simply cannot afford to be here a year from today, listing more and more states that, by then, will have passed us by,” said the Sen. Don Harmon of Oak Park, a lead sponsor of the bill. “Illinois needs to act, and we need to act now.”

The Illinois Clean Jobs Bill will cut energy use through efficiency by 20 percent by 2025 and raise standards for renewable wind and solar energy to 35 percent by 2030. Once fully implemented, it also will create an estimated 32,000 new jobs annually.

The bill will save consumers money, bring clean energy investment to communities, strengthen local tax bases and create family-sustaining jobs, according to many of the bill’s legislative co-sponsors speaking at the rally.

For many Illinois residents who travelled to the rally, the shift to a clean energy economy is personal.

“I am here because every family has the right to breathe clean air and have a healthy environment. Clean energy will bring jobs and opportunity to places like Waukegan, which desperately needs economic development,” said Dulce Ortiz, a Waukegan resident and a leader with the Clean Power Lake County Campaign. “It’s time to get these policies right. Bringing those projects home is a win-win for everyone in the community. We bring in more jobs and make sure my community is not left behind in the new economy. More importantly, it means the air our children breathe is less likely to make them sick.”

About the Clean Power Lake County Campaign

The Clean Power Lake County Campaign aims to bring community members together to build a just future based on clean air, clean water, and a revitalized lakefront in Lake County. The coalition consists of Christ Episcopal Church of Waukegan, Environmental Law & Policy Center, the Exchange Club of North Chicago, Faith in Place, Father Gary Graf Center, Incinerator Free Lake County, Lake County Bike Project, League of Women Voters-Lake County, Moms Clean Air Force-Illinois, Most Blessed Trinity Parish of Waukegan, NAACP-Lake County Branch, Organizing for Action-Lake/McHenry Chapter, Respiratory Health Association, Sierra Club Woods & Wetlands Group, Tufo Art, and Waukegan Community Church.