Illinois — Today, Governor JB Pritzker vetoed SB76—a bill that would have lifted Illinois’ decades-old moratorium on new nuclear power plants.
Responding to growing concerns about safety, waste and cost associated with nuclear power generation, the Illinois General Assembly passed a moratorium on developing new nuclear facilities within the state in 1987. Those concerns remain today. In the absence of the 25-year moratorium, Illinois would be exposed to risk from long-lapsed rules, regulations and oversight. Additionally, Illinoisans would bear the burden of exorbitant construction costs and growing stockpiles of hazardous waste with no safe, permanent disposal method.
The Illinois Environmental Council (IEC), Sierra Club Illinois, and many allies opposed the legislation during the spring legislative session because the fundamental concerns that led to the original moratorium remain unresolved, and new nuclear’s exorbitant cost threatens to distract investment from Illinois’ plan for a clean energy future. IEC and Sierra Club Illinois sent Governor Pritzker a letter requesting that he veto SB76, which can be read here.
In response, the Illinois Environmental Council and Sierra Club Illinois released the following statements:
“Governor Pritzker acted today to protect Illinois communities from dangerous regulatory gaps in SB76,” said Illinois Environmental Council Executive Director Jen Walling. “Nuclear power comes with significant safety risks and results in highly hazardous wastes that threaten our drinking water, with no safe, permanent waste solution in sight. Rather than abandon all safeguards, Governor Pritzker recognized that such substantial risks merit the highest protective guardrails our state can offer.”
“SB76 would have opened the door to increased risk, negative environmental impacts, and higher costs for consumers while jeopardizing our progress toward Illinois’ clean energy future. We applaud Governor Pritzker for vetoing the bill and ensuring that Illinois follows the roadmap laid out in the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act toward that vision for our future,” said Sierra Club Illinois Director Jack Darin.
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.