Alton residents joined hundreds of environmentalists, faith leaders, students, clean energy companies and Illinoisans from across the state in Springfield recently on Earth Day to call on legislators to create clean energy jobs in our state.

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This year, Illinois stands at a decisive moment as it determines how the state will get its power. The state currently gets a majority of its power from aging power plants, which are responsible for air, water and climate pollution. Illinois is also home to more than 100,000 clean energy jobs with potential to grow with the right policies.

“The energy landscape in Illinois and around the country is changing, and the economic and health impacts of climate disruption continue to grow. Madison County cannot be left behind,” said Alton Mom and Sierra Club volunteer Laura Asher. “Now is the time to build a future for Alton where we can grow our economic vitality with clean energy jobs.”

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Illinois lawmakers have an opportunity to pass a bill that could increase energy efficiency, fix our broken renewable portfolio standard to work better for Illinois workers and create 32,000 clean energy jobs annually. The Illinois Clean Jobs Bill (HB 2607/SB1485) would lower utility rates through energy efficiency, provide funding for low-income solar and much needed job transition.

The proposed market-based approach in the bill will help reduce carbon pollution in a cost-effective manner while creating clean energy jobs in every Illinois community - from Alton to Waukegan. Most importantly, it will create revenue for coal communities and low-income communities to use to invest in for workforce development and direct bill assistance for consumers.

“We headed to Springfield to support the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill because it presents the best path forward for creating new clean energy jobs, protecting the health of our communities, and preparing our communities and workforce for the 21st century clean energy economy,” said Jeff Rains from Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR) Chapter 7-34-2. “As we continue to grow jobs and expand our existing clean energy economy we must also protect families and communities.”

On the morning of April 22nd, Metro East residents met at College Ave Presbyterian Church for a parking lot press conference at 8:00AM and then carpooled to Springfield. Fore more, people should contact Elizabeth Scrafford at (208) 818-4626 or elizabeth.scrafford@sierraclub.org.

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