Yesterday, (December 1, 2016) the Illinois General Assembly passed historic energy legislation.
Throughout these past years, people of faith and conscience joined Faith in Place leaders in educating our legislators about the importance of acting urgently on climate change and creating clean energy jobs.
Thank you for all of your work helping remind our legislators that the way we source our energy is not just a political debate, but a moral question of how we treat each other and our Earth, and what legacy we leave for future generations. Thank you for holding our elected officials accountable for healthier communities.
Whether you signed a petition, attended a rally, called or sent an email to your legislators, attended a Faithful Citizen Workshop, or traveled to our State Capitol in Springfield for Advocacy Day, your efforts significantly mattered and had a tangible impact on this historic energy policy.
The many amazing partners of the IL Clean Jobs Coalition held together to make this bill a law. Together, we prevented coal subsidies and complicated changes to the way electric rates are structured and charged on your utility bill. Together, we fixed the broken Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), doubling the amount of private capital investments in wind and solar in Illinois. Together, we took steps to significantly increase energy efficiency programs throughout the entire state.
Because of your support, Faith in Place’s Policy Director, Pastor Vance, led efforts to win opportunities for economically challenged communities in this new green economy. Specifically, 2,000 clean energy jobs will be made available for either returning citizens (persons with criminal records) or foster care alumni, thereby connecting the dots between the green economy and criminal justice reform. At least $750,000,000 will be invested in low-to-moderate income energy efficiency and solar programs and job training. A community solar program is now available for the first time in Illinois.
Negotiations were intense, and this bill included other elements of difficult political reality. These wins, however, are a tremendous leap forward for environmental justice in Illinois.
At this moment of deep divisions in our country, I am also thankful for our state senators and representatives who worked across the aisle on this critical issue, and who listened to their constituents like you.
Please join me in thanking your elected officials.
A win only lasts for a day, and after saying our thanks, we know that we need to work harder than ever to implement this work and continue to take steps towards environmental justice.
Rev. Brian Sauder
Executive Director, Faith in Place