Lawmakers are returning to Springfield for a special session this week for a vote on the Clean Energy Jobs Act, aimed at decarbonizing the economy and bringing clean-energy jobs to Illinois.
Jack Darin, director of the Sierra Club Illinois Chapter, said the landmark climate bill was poised to pass at the end of the legislative session, but negotiations over closing coal-fired power plants by 2035 held it up.
While opponents argued closing coal plants would force workers out of jobs, Darin countered the bill takes those workers into account.
“Black and brown communities, communities that are facing the loss of coal plants as they have been going offline over the last decade, these are the places that we really want to focus these investments in,” Darin explained.
After phasing out coal plants by 2035, the plan would phase out natural gas by 2045 to reach the goal of 100% renewable energy by 2050. Darin added, achieving climate goals goes hand in hand with lifting communities that have been most impacted.