Governor JB Pritzker signed into law the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act– historic, nation-leading clean energy legislation that centers communities most impacted by the climate crisis. In doing so, Illinois became a national leader on real, equitable climate action at the state level.
The Illinois Environmental Council has been at the center of the years-long fight to pass this critical legislation. From decades of growing the number of environmental champions in the General Assembly, to holding decision-makers accountable, to providing grassroots advocates a platform to be heard, IEC’s work has built a General Assembly where the passage of comprehensive and equitable climate legislation is possible.
That this bill passed is proof; our strategies are working. And we simply couldn’t be any more proud of our fantastic environmental community for getting this done. It wasn’t easy, but the science was clear and so were Illinoisans across the state.
Put simply, this is a story about the power of people and the environmental community standing up to fossil fuel interests and big utilities — and winning. The result of hundreds of listening sessions throughout the state, grassroots advocacy demanding an equitable future and legislative champions holding the line on climate action, CEJA demonstrates the sheer power communities can and should have in shaping their own clean energy future.
CEJA brings the will of the people, the urgent calls of scientists to act and the needs of Black and Brown communities most impacted into policy. Below you will find an in-depth analysis of those elements of the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act.
Nation-leading equity programs:
CEJA creates good-paying jobs and wealth for working families in every part of Illinois, with an emphasis on BIPOC and environmental justice communities.
- Creates the most progressive and aggressive diversity initiative and mandate for any renewable program in the country. No other state even requires diversity reporting for renewables, let alone mandated goals for the entire industry
- Provides over $80 million per year for workforce and contractor development programs targeted in equity-focused communities, ensuring that an equitable share of the jobs and wealth generated by this new energy economy happen in disadvantaged communities and communities traditionally left behind
Bold climate action:
CEJA delivers the necessary reductions in carbon emissions that science demands to tackle climate change by accelerating fossil fuel transition to renewable energy.
- Commits Illinois to meaningful decarbonization without loopholes, and puts Illinois on a path to a 100% renewable energy future
- Equitably phases out coal and natural gas by 2045– including the state’s largest polluter, Prairie State, which is also the 7th largest polluter in the US
- Drives our state to 40% renewable energy by 2030, and 50% by 2040, by building 3.5x more renewable energy per year than under FEJA
Thousands of new jobs:
CEJA ensures that an equitable share of the jobs and wealth generated by this new energy economy happen in disadvantaged communities and those traditionally left behind.
- Creates 16 new workforce hubs, coupled with contractor incubator hubs, and a pre-apprenticeship program to train and create a pipeline for communities that qualify
- Creates a training program for soon-to-be-released incarcerated persons for jobs in the solar and energy efficiency sectors
- Generates billions of dollars in new renewable energy projects that will create good-paying jobs in communities throughout our state
Clean transportation, clean air:
CEJA tackles the biggest source of Illinois’ emissions by committing tens of millions a year over the next decade to support the adoption of electric vehicles.
- Establishes new incentives for electric vehicles and EV charging infrastructure
- Creates the role of EV Coordinator at IL EPA to oversee existing resource distribution
- Expands efforts to guarantee equitable investments in transportation electrification spending
Utility accountability and ethics reform:
CEJA guarantees that corrupt utilities no longer dictate energy policy in Illinois, while shining a light on ratemaking processes and utility investments.
- Abolishes automatic formula rates and revolutionizes ratemaking to align utility spending with performance measures driven by reliability, equity, affordability and clean energy goals
- Creates rigorous new ethics standards with restrictions on utility lobbying and spending
- Mandates new ICC ethics oversight division to audit and enforce utility ethics compliance
A just transition:
CEJA supports communities as they grapple with the closure of fossil fuel plants, prioritizing a just transition for workers and impacted residents.
- Creates new community grants for fossil fuel communities to help address economic and social impacts of the energy transition, including replacement of property tax dollars
- Creates community energy and climate plans to help units of local government develop strategies to address climate change and increase clean energy
CEJA expands energy efficiency programs to save households money, while reducing energy burden on low-income ratepayers.
- Prohibits late payment fees and customer deposits for low-income ratepayers
- Kickstarts a new rate study to establish a low-income rate for residential customers
- Extends energy efficiency goals and provides funding to fix health and safety issues when installing efficiency measures in low-income homes
At over 900 pages, the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act goes beyond even these many provisions to meaningfully address our climate crisis, take bold action on creating equitable, good-paying jobs across the state and enact tough utility accountability measures. The road ahead includes significant implementation work to deliver on these goals, and continue to center impacted communities’ voices on the path to a 100% clean energy future.