As reported by Steve Daniel's at Crain's Chicago Business, as Exelon Nuclear's well heeled lobbyists seek "the best democracy money can buy" (a phrase coined by investigative journalist and author Greg Pallast), they might want to hire a copy editor.
Exelon claims its omission of $133 million per year in renewable energy and efficiency funding in a major piece of legislation it is pushing in Illinois was a mere "clerical error." Exelon had just days earlier touted the $140 million per year in funding for genuinely clean energy as a major breakthrough it had reached with environmental groups and renewable energy businesses. But the final draft bill included only $7 million per year.
As reported in the article, critics aren't buying Exelon's "clerical error" mea culpa:
"This doesn't give us confidence that Exelon has reversed its historic opposition to the renewable portfolio standard," said Sarah Wochos, co-legislative director at the Chicago-based Environmental Law & Policy Center. "In a carefully crafted bill, it's hard to believe that this latest attempt to eviscerate renewable funding was a two-page 'drafting error.' "
Exelon's "clerical error" comes after years of its lobbyists helping stymie the state's Renewable Portfolio Standard, refusing to allow a technical flaw to be fixed, effectively sabotaging renewable energy development in the state.
The "error" also comes after the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) expelled Exelon from its membership, after the company simultaneously lobbied at the federal level to terminate the Wind Power Production Tax Credit, while simultaneously taking advantage of it, itself.
After a lull in pseudo-negotiations with Illinois environmental groups, Exelon dropped a new piece of nuclear bailout legislation on the legislature on May 4th. Titled the “Next Generation Energy Plan,” it is SB.1585. Introduced BY Exelon while they were in allegedly “good-faith” negotiations with members of the Clean Jobs Coalition (CJC), the bill was introduced without warning. Exelon claims it to be, “a result of discussions between Exelon Generation, ComEd, the Clean Jobs Coalition, and other key stakeholders,” and “…reflects the best of all three bills introduced by Exelon Generation, ComEd, and the Clean Jobs Coalition in 2015….” (Source: “Nuclear Power Matters” e-mail blast to Exelon supporters.). So much for “good faith negotiations.” To be clear: the Clean Jobs Coalition and enviro groups did NOT endorse, nor collaborate in the creation of the Exelon bailout bill.
To its credit, the State of Illinois Legislature has, thus far, proven itself to NOT be "the best democracy money can buy." Exelon's lobbyists failed a year ago to force through their nuclear power bailout scheme. Exelon has till May 31, 2016 to force its supposedly now corrected legislation into law. It has threatened to close three reactors at two plants, in the next two years, if it doesn't get its way.
If you are an Illinois resident, please contact Governor Rauner, State House Speaker Madigan, and State Senate President John Cullerton. See NEIS's action alert for direct contact info., as well as suggested talking points. If you are not an Illinois resident, but have friends, family, or colleagues who are, please urge them to take action! Grassroots citizen action could make all the difference -- indeed, it is the only thing that ever does!
Given the safety benefit of closing such age-degraded reactors, as well as stopping the generation of any more high-level radioactive waste for which there is no solution, these reactor closures would be a good thing. A just transition for the workforce, including into a growing Illinois renewable and efficiency sector, would set the state on the road to a clean energy future in a big way, while saving ratepayers hundreds of millions of dollars per year in this latest round of attempted nuclear power mega-subsidies, at public expense.
Capitolfax.com has posted the following response to this news:
Thursday, May 12, 2016
[The following is a paid advertisement.]
Exelon was caught this week with their hand in the cookie jar.
Exelon, the only company ever kicked out of the American Wind Energy Association and the company single-handedly preventing a fix to Illinois’ broken RPS claims the near zeroing-out RPS funding in their multi-billion dollar bailout bill was a two-page “drafting error.”
Crain’s exposed this latest outrage: Oops! Exelon’s compromise energy bill nearly zeroes out green-power funding.
Other lowlights from the Exelon bailout bill?
- Permanent Nuclear Subsidy – Continues for the “useful life of the plant.”
- Subsidy in Advance – Exelon gets their subsidy a year in advance by projecting revenues and costs.
- Windfall Profits – if energy prices go up, Exelon keeps the windfall profits.
- ComEd Gets Back in the Generation Biz – breaks 1997 deregulation agreement preventing ComEd from owning generation.
- Demand Charge Rate Hike – First in nation “demand charge” will raise rates for nearly ½ of ComEd customers.
- Energy Efficiency – ComEd to earn first-ever guaranteed profits on efficiency programs.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
JUST SAY NO TO THE EXELON BAILOUT.
BEST Coalition is a 501C4 nonprofit group of dozens of business, consumer and government groups, as well as large and small businesses. Visit www.noexelonbailout.com.
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