Illinois lawmakers try one more time to save imperiled nuclear plants

August 31, 2021, 12:01PMNuclear News

Yesterday morning with about two weeks to go before the scheduled permanent closure of Illinois’s Byron nuclear power plant, state Sen. Michael Hastings (D., 19th Dist.) filed a proposal to end the state legislature’s stalemate on a clean energy package that would, among other things, provide financial aid to Byron, as well as to other endangered nuclear power facilities in the state, via a carbon mitigation credit program.

The 980-page proposal, filed as an amendment to H.B. 3666, is likely to be taken up today as Illinois lawmakers return to the state capital for a special session called to address legislative redistricting.

The major points of contention with the stalled energy legislation concern the state’s coal-fired plants, including, most prominently, the Prairie State plant, the largest carbon emitter in Illinois. According to this story in The Pantagraph, Hastings says his compromise proposal would require a 50 percent decrease in that facility’s carbon emissions by 2040 and mandate that municipal coal plants “attain 105 percent carbon emission reduction by 2045 through the use of carbon sequestration and/or direct air capture.” The environmentalist lobby wants the state’s coal plants closed by 2035.

Pritzker not pleased: Illinois Gov. Pritzker’s office responded to the proposal yesterday evening, saying, “Any energy package needs to lead with ethics and transparency, needs time to be vetted, and must end carbon emissions by a date certain.” For more on the governor’s position, see this piece from WCIA.com.


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