Illinois — Today, Governor JB Pritzker issued an amendatory veto on HB3445—legislation that would have given Ameren, the private utility company that serves much of Central and Southern Illinois, a “Right of First Refusal” to build regional transmission lines in Southern Illinois. Under this bill, Ameren would have been given first dibs on building new transmission projects at whatever price they wanted to charge, ultimately increasing costs for consumers and businesses.
In response, the Illinois Environmental Council and Sierra Club Illinois released the following statements:
“The so-called “Right of First Refusal” language was added as an amendment to HB3445 in the waning hours of the spring legislative session, and lawmakers were not given enough time to consider the ways in which this action would be costly and time-consuming,” said Illinois Environmental Council Executive Director Jen Walling. “We cannot further delay clean energy adoption, particularly in Central and Southern Illinois communities that have long been burdened with predatory practices from utilities like Ameren. Governor Pritzker’s amendatory veto of this bill will allow Illinois to bring large-scale clean energy projects online in a competitive market, which will keep costs low and protect consumers.”
“Illinois needs to build a lot of transmission lines in order to reach our clean energy goals in the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA), and we need to expedite these projects, not restrict them,” said Sierra Club Illinois Director Jack Darin. “These projects will create good jobs, and Illinois should prioritize living wages for local workers, not corporate profits funded by ratepayers. We applaud Governor Pritzker for taking another key step toward building Illinois’ clean energy future while protecting ratepayers from excess utility costs.”
“Like many of Ameren’s customers, my utility bill is one of my most expensive monthly payments,” said Ameren customer Toni Oplt. “I’m grateful to Governor Pritzker for issuing an amendatory on a bill that would have added further strain on my pocketbook and the pocketbooks of hardworking Illinoisans across the state. It’s time for all of us—utilities included—to roll up our sleeves, bolster the green economy through a competitive market, and support our renewable energy future.”
Illinois Environmental Council
Since 1975, the Illinois Environmental Council (IEC) has worked to safeguard Illinois—its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends by building power for people and the environment. Representing over 100 environmental organizations operating in Illinois and over 500 individuals in the state, IEC carries out its mission to advance public policies that create healthy environments across Illinois through education, advocacy and movement building. For more, visit ilenviro.org.
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.8 million members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person’s right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.