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Still No State Energy Deal As Deadlines Near

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Legislation to get Illinois on track to 100 percent clean energy in the next few decades has been on hold this entire summer.

But overnight in Springfield, the Illinois Senate broke a months-long stalemate on negotiations as high stakes deadlines get closer.

Senate President Don Harmon pushed for his chamber to vote on legislation he views as a compromise.

“I am worried that inaction is far worse than action, even if we recognize there’s more work to be done,” he said.

Environmental groups and organized labor have been at odds over how to structure a new law governing Illinois’ energy future.

The environmentalists want to force the state’s coal and natural gas-fired power plants to close in the next two to three decades, and significantly reduce their carbon emissions in the years before those eventual retirements. Critics argue that could prove costly to consumers.

Unions are wary of agreeing to any plan that threatens jobs for their members and are also up against a mid-September target date for nuclear giant Exelon to permanently shutter the first of two power plants, meaning thousands of layoffs.

Governor JB Pritzker and the environmental groups he’s aligned himself with say they’re open to continuing negotiations now that the energy bill has passed over to the House.

While lawmakers have left Springfield after a brief one day session, they could return as early as next week to tackle the energy package once again.

Copyright 2021 NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS. To see more, visit NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS.

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Illinois Public Radio

Illinois Public Radio

Illinois Newsroom gets stories from public radio stations from across the state, including WBEZ-Chicago, WCBU-Peoria, WGLT-Normal, WVIK-Rock Island, WIUM-Macomb, WNIJ-DeKalb, WSIU-Carbondale, WUIS-Springfield, and St. Louis Public Radio.

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