In the early hours of September 1, lawmakers were forced to vote on a controversial energy proposal that State Senator Dave Syverson (R-Cherry Valley) says gives huge subsidies to solar and wind companies at the expense of Illinois’ nuclear fleet.
“Byron’s nuclear resources provides some of the most cost-effective and reliable energy available today, and I remain committed to doing everything possible to keep Byron open,” said Sen. Syverson. “This energy proposal could have helped preserve our state’s nuclear presence, but the Majority party chose bailouts and subsidies over realistic compromise. It’s disappointing.”
Sen. Syverson, who has been actively engaged in negotiations to safeguard the future of the Byron-based nuclear plant, was forced to vote against the controversial energy package after language was changed to only allow the northern nuclear facility to stay open for six more years.
Key components and concerns contained in the energy package included:
· Giving nearly $700 million in taxpayer funds to bailout Exelon
· Allows for private companies to take farmland through emanate domain
· Giving huge subsidies to wind and solar without any reforms on their pricing
· Creating the largest utility rate increase in Illinois history
· Excluding wind and solar from the same ethical standards that traditional energy must follow
“This legislation includes big subsidies to the solar and wind companies, which places nuclear facilities at a huge disadvantage,” said Sen. Syverson. “Meanwhile, Byron is left without a long-term solution and hundreds of employees still face the possibility of being left jobless.”
The legislation received opposition from several groups, including the AARP, the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, and the Illinois Manufacturing Association, as the package represents the largest utility rate increase in Illinois history.
“The last thing we need is to add even more financial burdens on the business community of this state, and give Illinoisans another reason to leave,” said Sen. Syverson.
Senate Bill 18 was introduced in the late hours of the one-day session on August 31. Just hours later, in the early morning of September 1, lawmakers were forced to vote on the nearly 1,000-page document.
“Nuclear power is the cleanest, most efficient and most affordable on the planet today,” said Sen. Syverson. “We should have addressed the immediate concerns regarding the future of Illinois’ nuclear energy in a stand-alone bill rather than ram through unrealistic, sweeping energy reform that will have consequences for decades to come.”
Senate Bill 18 passed the Senate on Sept. 1 by a vote of 39 to 16.