HARRISBURG, IL (WSIL) -- The Illinois Senate is expected to reconvene next week to vote on the Clean Energy Jobs Act, which could make the state carbon-free by 2050.
The Senate failed to pass the bill by the end of the May session, lawmakers says they have not yet seen a copy of the final language for that vote expected for Tuesday. Holding its passage is a debate over the forced closure of several coal-fired power plants. If passed as it is currently written, those plants would shutter by 2035.
State Sen. Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg), who serves on the Energy Committee, says the legislature sees that renewables are the future as coal declines, but until the state is ready, he will continue to advocate on the behalf of coal plants.
"If it has to decline, we want it to decline naturally, we have to protect the coal plants, we have to protect our jobs, until we're ready to flip that switch from fossil fuels to renewables," says Fowler. "But right now we're just not there yet, so we have to protect these jobs until we're ready to convert to renewables."
Final language for the bill is expected any day. If passed, proponents say it will bring 100% clean, renewable energy to the state, support communities where coal or gas plants close and create infrastructure to electrify the state's transportation sector.