SPRINGFIELD — Exelon Generation and ComEd today announced that the Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce has joined the broad spectrum of Illinois business leaders and organizations that are voicing strong support for the Future Energy Jobs Bill, saying it will strengthen the economy, save and create good-paying jobs, retain Illinois’ historically low energy rates and ensure the state maintains its competitive economic advantage.
The Illinois Black Chamber joins a strong business coalition supporting the Future Energy Jobs Bill, including the Chatham Business Association, Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau, Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Illinois Retail Merchants Association, Illinois Municipal League, Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce and Rockford Chamber of Commerce. Ameren Illinois, which provides electric services to the southern portion of Illinois, also supports the current bill.
The legislation is the product of collaboration among diverse stakeholders, including environmental groups, renewable energy developers, faith-based organizations, consumer advocates, labor, business groups, utilities, community leaders, policymakers, the governor and legislative staff. Among other benefits, the bill will preserve 4,200 jobs associated with Exelon’s Quad Cities and Clinton nuclear plants, preserve $1.2 billion in economic activity, create tens of thousands of new jobs associated with renewable energy development and energy efficiency and avoid higher energy costs that would result if nuclear plants were to close.
“We are proud to support the Future Energy Jobs Bill, which is the only legislation out there that will help boost Illinois’ economy and create jobs, while also helping to provide job training for those looking to enter the workforce,” said Larry D. Ivory, President and CEO of the Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce. “In addition to the thousands of jobs at stake, this represents a chance to secure affordable energy, benefit our environment and ensure that Illinois remains an attractive place to do business.”
“The Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA) is extraordinarily pleased with the progress made to date,” said Rob Karr, President and CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association. “The current proposal protects jobs and energy consumers while ensuring Illinois’ significant advantage in electric competitiveness is assured. Most importantly, it does this while avoiding the price increases and other cost impacts that will happen if we do nothing.”
“In addition to delivering a boost to our economy, this legislation will put Illinois at the forefront of the growing clean energy industry and help businesses keep energy costs affordable,” said Melinda Kelly, Executive Director of the Chatham Business Association. “It also advances grid reliability and energy security, which are essential ingredients to a healthy economy.”
“The Future Energy Jobs Bill brings an innovative set of solutions that deliver benefits to consumers, labor and businesses, while also protecting our environment for future generations,” said Omar Duque, President and CEO of the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “This wide array of solutions is a testament to the collaborative effort that has been applied to this legislation over the past two years.”
In response to stakeholder feedback, the legislation has undergone a number of changes since it was introduced and conditionally passed by a 9 to 1 vote at last week’s Illinois House Energy Committee hearing. Though it continues to evolve, the more streamlined bill reduces costs but retains important provisions to jumpstart renewable energy development, preserve the state’s nuclear plants, support low-income programs and keep energy rates competitive.
“We are encouraged by the strong and growing level of support from interests representing a broad cross-section of our economy,” said Joe Dominguez, Exelon’s executive vice president, Governmental and Regulatory Affairs and Public Policy. “We will continue to engage with all stakeholders to refine the bill so that we can arrive at the best possible solution for our customers and the state of Illinois.”
“This is about creating a better future for everyone in Illinois, and that comes through in the daily discussions we are having with business leaders, labor unions, consumer groups, environmental organizations and others who have come forward with their ideas,” said Fidel Marquez, senior vice president, government and external affairs, ComEd. “We continue to listen and are making great progress toward delivering creative solutions that will leave our economy and environment strong and healthy for years to come.”
The legislation will continue to undergo revisions prior to the start of the Veto session, which begins Nov. 29. For more information, visit futureenergyjobsbill.com.