The Illinois Climate and Equitable Jobs act was signed into law on September 15, 2021. It took years of negotiations and give and take among hundreds of community groups across the state, government and labor organizations. The crafters of the bill got direct feedback from people from north to south, east to west, so it wasn’t just politicans and CEO’s making this bill. Here are three things we know for sure:
This is probably the best bill in the US right now for clean energy and equity, which means it protects people first and foremost, and also protects our environment for future generations. Then of course there’s tons of new jobs, training, business investment, etc. We should all be high-fiving! This is big stuff!
The bill is not perfect, and no one is saying that it is, but it’s really good. Everyone came together and compromised and we got the best bill we could. That’s democracy! We still have a lot of work to do, but this will put us on the right path for a better future for all Illinoisans.
The bill is funded through ratepayers, so we’re all going to see an extra line item on our bills for this, and of course no one likes that. It’s an investment for the future of this state and all it’s people, and everyone should be able to find many ways to get cheaper electricity with solar, save money on their bills and/or find new jobs or other benefits from all the new programs in the bill. It’s going to help people, so we can all feel good about that.
The more we know, the better off we are, in that we’re going to be able to take advantage of all the benefits that the bill provides. At this CEJA Toolkit page we’ll always aim to get everyone the best info we can, and we apologize in advance for errors and omissions. This is a big bill, and it’s going to take time and effort. So make sure you stay up to date!
For now, you can check the CEJA Toolkit for ideas, and the summarized details of the new programs categorized by climate, economy and humanity. Many thanks to the Illinois Clean Job Coalition (ICJC), which was intrumental in keeping the forward momentum going towards completion of this bill. They also provided the “ICJC Legislative Analysis” that summarizes the bill. If you want to dig even deeper, you can use this CEJA table of contents also developed by the ICJC and the bill itself. Happy learning!
April 8, 2021, Southern Illinois – Clean energy and climate change adaptation and mitigation opportunities are the biggest moment of our time. A series of events this April and May are kicking off a concerted #AllTogetherNowSI effort to organize our communities around the efforts to bring these new opportunities to the southern Illinois region, for the benefit of current and future generations. All event schedules and related information are at AllTogetherNowSI.com.
One of our biggest here-and-now opportunities is solar energy (yes there are more big here-and-now opportunities and we’ll be talking about those too at other events in April). Coal plants in southern Illinois continue to close because they’re not economically competitive, people are losing jobs and communities are losing their tax base. Rebuilding our communities with solar energy brings good union jobs, great investment opportunities, cleaner air and water, and educational opportunities for our youth to help prepare them for their renewable energy future. This is a long-term effort, and there are many things already happening in southern Illinois where people can get involved and benefit from change to business models and lifestyles that are good for the climate, economy and humanity. That includes solar energy.
We’re having a panel discussion of solar experts who are working in our southern Illinois communities on April 14 at 4:30-6:00 p.m. All the event details, links to registration and sponsorship opportunities for this long-term community effort are at https://all4.earth/events/go-solar-si/. Here is a list of our panelists:
Beau Henson will talk about Solarize SI, the solar group buy program that is currently underway. They’re just kicking off their second year of the program.
Aur Beck of AES Solar, will talk about Coal2Sol, a solar program for nonprofits. Third-party investment in solar systems for nonprofits benefit the investors, the nonprofits and their communities.
Shannon Fulton of StraightUp Solar will talk about “Cooperative Owners for Solar.” Cooperatives in the region have higher energy prices and less options for solar energy. Member-owners can help fix that.
The main topics covered by the panelists will be followed with Q&A so we can dig down deep into the southern Illinois issues. Scott Allen of the Citizens Utility board said:
Significant changes to the way we generate, deliver and use electricity are coming, not just in Illinois, but nationally and globally as well. This massive infrastructure overhaul will create new economic opportunities, allow for corrections to established systems, and re-determine the way that we interact with utilities. In Illinois, we have an opportunity to ensure that the status quo is overturned. We can make policies that create wealth more equitably, protect human health, and prepare our grid for the future.
Amy McMorrow Hunter, President/CEO of The Climate Economy Education Inc (TCE), is the host and moderator of this discussion. Additional sponsors include the Just Transition Fund, experts in helping coal communities transition their economies after coal shutdowns, and ShopSouthernIllinois.com, a locally-owned business directory. TCE’s events are always recorded and put up on our YouTube channel. The change that we need will come from our communities. We can learn what’s happening in our communities to create positive change, and learn how we can get involved today.
The Climate Economy Education Inc is a local nonprofit for education on business models and lifestyles that are good for the climate, economy and humanity. TCE also runs the CLimate Economy Action Network at CLEANetwork.com, also funded by the Just Transition Fund. Everything on CLEANetwork.com is free and up and running and available 24/7 so people can check in and get involved when they have time. CLEANetwork.com is all about making it super easy for people take target actions that reduce harmful emissions, increase community resilience, increase civic engagement or help others. Online courses are available so people can hone their skills on the hottest emerging topics that are relevant to southern Illinois. Also, we’re building our community. CLEANetwork.com facilitates online groups, discussions and project management so when the time is right, we take it offline and get some work done outside. Youth programs are also available. It’s all an evolving, long-term project for southern Illinois. Signing up on the CLEANetwork.com is free and people can earn points and rewards for taking positive target actions.
First of all, can I just say how nice it is to have a president who is clearly super excited and proud to be our president and to be out there and working to protect lives and improve things for all Americans using science and compassion? There’s my hopefulness, now back to reality. We have a lot to do, and we have to make sure and hold President Biden and his administration accountable. These are crucial times of change. It was great to see right away a bold climate and jobs agenda getting out there. On his first day in office, President Biden signed several climate- and energy-related executive orders including the following:
Empowering American workers and businesses to lead a clean energy revolution that achieves a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035 and puts the United States on an irreversible path to a net-zero economy by 2050
Federal agencies should buy only carbon-free electricity and zero-pollution vehicles
Commits to the goal of conserving at least 30 percent of our lands and oceans by 2030
Calls for the establishment of a Civilian Climate Corps Initiative to put a new generation of Americans to work
Creates a government-wide Justice40 Initiative with the goal of delivering 40 percent of the overall benefits of relevant federal investments to disadvantaged communities