March 14, 2011

Quinn Vetoes Coal Plant Bailouts

We applaud Governor Quinn's veto of ratepayer bailouts for two risky, dirty coal plants. Governor Quinn has long been a champion for clean energy and for consumers, and the special interest legislation for Leucadia and Power Holdings were bad for both.

Regarding the Power Holdings legislation (SB 1927), Quinn said:
As we lead the way out of this historic recession, we must always be mindful of the effect our policies will have on the people of Illinois. Not only must new projects and policies be designed to improve our environment and expand our economy, they must also distribute burdens more proportionally among residential users and businesses and provide greater protections against cost overruns and higher energy prices. Unfortunately, the bill before me today falls short of these goals.
And regarding the Leucadia proposal (SB 3388), Quinn said:
Our priorities must be economic growth, consumer protection, environmental quality and a comprehensive approach to energy generation and efficiency. The bill before me today does not fully achieve these goals. This bill exposes citizens throughout Illinois to the long-term risks of fluctuating energy prices. To ensure greater consumer protection, consumers should be given full priority to access any reserve account and a more substantial financial commitment to the account should be made. By requiring utilities to enter substantially equal sourcing agreements, this bill also places the burden of higher energy costs on a small group of residential consumers.

Inadequate consumer protections and high energy costs will not create jobs in Illinois. Until I am satisfied that consumers are protected, burdens are shared, and jobs are created, I will not affix my signature to this bill.

There will be no easy answer that solves all our energy needs. The energy of the past must be developed cleaner and more efficiently, while we invest in the energy of the future.
Trying to turn coal into natural gas will raise heating bills and cause more air pollution - it just doesn't make sense. Illinois ratepayers can thank Governor Quinn for saving them from a big rate hike to bail out these two plants.

We expect these two coal plants to keep pushing for ratepayers to pay more to bail out their risky projects. We call on legislators to say no - especially in these economic times, we should focus on clean energy job creation strategies that have proven to work. We've created over 10,000 jobs in clean energy in recent years by encouraging competition (rather than special deals for individual companies), betting on proven technology like wind and solar, and protecting consumers. Thank you, Governor Quinn, for staying that course - it's clearly the best for our economy and our future.