The Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA) passed through a key House committee yesterday, moving the comprehensive energy legislation a step closer to becoming state law. The House Energy and Environment Committee voted to advance the Clean Energy Jobs Act, sponsored by State Rep. Ann Williams and State Sen. Cristina Castro (House Bill 3624/Senate Bill 2132), and the bill now awaits a committee vote in the Senate.
“Illinois must create a path forward to ensure that the jobs and economic benefits created by smarter energy and transportation are realized in our state,” said chief CEJA sponsor Ann Williams. “The Clean Energy Jobs Act makes Illinois a national clean energy leader and ensures that every corner of Illinois will benefit.”
CEJA is comprised of four major pillars:
Secure a clean, equitable energy future that focuses on quality jobs and economic opportunity.
Expand clean energy and efficiency in an equitable manner to set Illinois on a path to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2050.
Achieve a carbon-free power sector by 2030.
Use electric vehicles, mass transit, and other clean alternatives to replace the equivalent of one million gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles on Illinois roadways.
“Illinois now has some of the lowest electric bills in the country because of good energy policy, and the CEJA legislation offers strong protection against out-of-state power generators that want to change electricity market rules and raise our electric bills,” said Amanda Pankau of the Prairie Rivers Network, based in Champaign. “With what’s happening in Washington, Illinois needs to take charge of its own clean energy future — for the sake of our economy, our jobs, our utility bills, and our environment.”
The bill also creates a clean energy and transportation workforce hub that will establish a jobs pipeline for underserved and economically disadvantaged communities, including those that are home to displaced fossil fuel industry workers or have environmental justice concerns.
“We urge the General Assembly to pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act,” said Delmar Gillus of Elevate Energy. “Clean energy is affordable energy, it’s a job creator, and it represents a chance for Illinois’ economy to prosper. We must seize the opportunity to bring benefits to all, and with this bill, to foster innovation that sustains Illinois as a clean energy leader.”
The Clean Energy Jobs Act was influenced by more than 60 listening sessions the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition held last year across the state where residents from different backgrounds showed strong support for CEJA’s four pillars.
“Passage of FEJA, the Future Energy Jobs Act, in 2016 set the stage for Illinois to become a clean energy leader—and we thank the millions of household customers from neighborhoods like mine whose monthly bill payments helped make that breakthrough possible — but there’s vital work left to do,” said Naomi Davis of Blacks in Green. “Our work must expand in CEJA to guarantee that no community is left behind — that the new clean energy economy benefits everyone — especially communities in need in Chicago and across Illinois, that stand to benefit most from the job training, career placement, and enterprise supports of this next generation clean energy legislation.”