Welter supports Future Energy Jobs Bill
State Rep. David Welter (R-Morris) recently came out in support of Senate Bill 2814, which passed in the fall veto session.
“I voted in support of Senate Bill 2814, the Future Energy Jobs bill, in an effort to create thousands of new jobs and preserve more than $1.2 billion in economic activity in our state,” Welter said in a statement. “I made a commitment to fight for nuclear power jobs in our district and my vote today is to protect those good, middle-class jobs that employ our friends, family and neighbors.”
The bill, backed by Exelon, the nation’s largest nuclear power plant, is aimed at creating zero emissions credits for nuclear power plants, working on providing more clean energy for residents of Illinois and providing a safety net for nuclear power plants that have been struggling in recent years.
The Sierra Club released a statement in support of the bill.
“Clean energy technology is growing every year in Illinois,” according to the statement. “These policies will nurture that shift away from fossil fuels, bolster our energy economy, and help ensure that every Illinois community can thrive in the clean energy economy.”
The bill, which had many sponsors from both the Senate and the House, passed in the state legislature with bipartisan support.
Opponents of the bill, like state Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton), saw the legislation as a bailout for Exelon.
“I recognize that nuclear power is essential,” Ives said in a statement. “In 2014 during the polar vortex, Exelon’s nuclear power plants maintained 96 percent production reliability -- when other sources of energy could not ramp up production due to severe weather, nuclear kept producing. This capability should be preserved through the base load capacity power market and spread to all users of Illinois produced energy including those in other states -- not only Illinoisans.”
On the other hand, supporters like Welter and Gov. Bruce Rauner say the bill will preserve jobs.
On Dec. 16, Rauner signed the bill that would prevent the closure of Exelon and Quad Cities nuclear power plant. The law provides $235 million in subsidies to the power plants.
Welter is a member of the House Energy Committee that passed the bill on Nov. 1.
“Three studies have shown that doing nothing will result in far greater increases for energy consumers from the everyday family to the large energy consumers such as manufactures,” he said. “It is my belief that voting in favor of this legislation will keep rate increases to a minimum with caps to protect consumers. It also provides for stability and reliability in energy production keeping all of Illinois’ nuclear plants running and producing clean energy to power Illinois for the next 10 years.”
By keeping the plants open, Welter and Rauner believe jobs will not only be protected -- but that new jobs will be created, as well.
“This legislation will save thousands of jobs,” Rauner said in a statement. “It protects ratepayers, through guaranteed caps, from large rate increases in years to come. It also ensures taxpayers are not on the hook to keep the power plants open and online.”