This week Gov. Quinn nominated Chicago Ald. Manny Flores to be the new Chair of the Illinois Commerce Commission. If confirmed by the Illinois Senate, this is great news for everyone who stands to gain (and that means all of us) by moving to a new energy economy in Illinois.
Flores has been an environmental champion on the Chicago City Council, working to create green jobs in the city, promote clean energy, and remove toxic chemicals from consumer products. The Illinois Commerce Commission has not historically been considered a major environmental policymaking authority, but they are now squarely in the middle of major decisions about our energy future, including questions such as:
-Will we meet our target of 25% renewable energy by 2025? Can we exceed it, or reach it faster?
-Will we maximize efforts to cut utility bills by saving energy?
-Will we create the maximum number of new Illinois jobs in the process?
All this makes it perfect timing to have a clean energy leader take the helm at the ICC.
Here's an excerpt from a conversation I had with Flores about clean energy in November - when he attended a USEPA hearing on regulating global warming pollution. He talks about the imperative of moving now to participate in the new economy, and of a recent trip to South Korea, which is heading that way.
Hopefully the Illinois Senate, which itself has done a great deal in recent years to move Illinois to a clean energy future, will quickly confirm Flores.