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Bill Defending CEJA and Protecting Local Clean Energy Projects Passes During Lame Duck Session

SPRINGFIELD, IL – A bill protecting Illinois-based clean energy projects from a growing number of local bans passed today during the Illinois General Assembly’s lame duck legislative session. HB4412 was drafted to prevent counties from enacting preemptive local ordinances that outright ban local wind and solar projects, hindering the state’s new climate goals set forth in the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA). The bill passed by a vote of 33 to 17 in the Senate and 73 to 36 in the House.

“We’ve seen an uptick in radical misinformation campaigns taking root here in Illinois that aim to obstruct the progress we have made in CEJA by banning local wind and solar clean energy projects,” said Jen Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council. “Unaddressed, these out-of-state fear-mongers will compromise the state’s ability to meet our climate goals and realize the financial savings, job creation, economic development, and grid reliability secured in CEJA.”

With the passage of HB4412, the legislature successfully removed overburdensome local wind and solar siting regulations while prioritizing protections for endangered species and natural areas and encouraging conservation practices at utility-scale clean energy sites.

“I was proud to cast my vote for CEJA, and I’m proud to have brought forward legislative solutions like HB4412 to ensure that Illinois remains on track to meet our climate, jobs and justice goals secured in our nation-leading climate bill,” said State Rep. Robyn Gabel.

“The General Assembly was proactive in passing HB4412, taking necessary action to defend the economic, equity and climate benefits secured in CEJA by directly confronting counterproductive bans on clean energy,” Walling continued. “Now our state can continue plugging away at the implementation of CEJA without having to play whack-a-mole every time fossil fuel interests introduce an ordinance intended to delay our clean energy future.”

Over a dozen local bans have passed in Illinois counties to date. HB4412 would not only prevent future bans but would also take precedence over current bans, clearing the way for rapid clean energy development across the state, helping Illinois meet its climate goals, and helping communities address potential capacity shortfalls.

“Illinoisans expect the General Assembly to anticipate problems and generate policy solutions that ensure the best outcomes for our communities, and HB4412 is a prime example of that work,” said Sen. Bill Cunningham. “With this legislation, we’re bringing clean energy jobs and opportunities to people across Illinois.”

HB4412 heads next to Gov. JB Pritzker’s desk for his signature.

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