[See NEIS action alert at bottom of this post for what IL residents can do! If you know people in IL, please get word to them -- action is needed ASAP!]
David Kraft, director of Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS) of Chicago, has written the following response to the article and the legislative developments:
Kudos to the brilliant and accurate almost daily reporting of Kari Lydersen on this extremely important legislation! It's a moving target for everyone, and this piece nails it well.
Of great importance in understanding the magnitude of the upcoming decision, and the nature of the opposition, were some of the critical comments that occurred at the end of the House Energy Committee hearing on Tuesday 11/29.
There were significant criticisms from the Ill. Attorney General's office (e.g., that low-income EE funding was cut in half in the new version; that the new "ZES" in effect locks in a 10-year uncontestable rate-hike; LIHEAP provisions were removed from the previous version), AARP, and the blockbuster opposition at the very end of the hearing from BOMA, Ill. Manufacturers Assn., Chemical Industry Council, and the Illinois Petroleum Council. These latter 4 are usually Exelon supporters, and all came out strongly in opposition to the 450+ page Exelon nuclear bailout, citing that it is a net "jobs killer," and that, "turns the [highly successful] Illinois deregulation process (which was worked on for more than 6 months) on its head," undoing nearly 20 years worth of multi-billion dollar, market-based energy savings with only 3 days of examination by legislators. They also pointed out the obvious: EITHER choice produces a rate increase; and they would rather live with the rate increase that was still governed by market forces, and not legislative fiat.
We would also emphasize the important distinction that "acceptance" of the nuclear bailout in the proposed bill by SOME in the environmental community is not the same as "support" for either a bailout or nuclear power. The environmental community has been split on the legislation over various issues at various times; and forced by Exelon’s allies in the legislature into this ‘nuclear hostage’ situation by the typical ‘horse-trading’ politics that goes on in Springfield. The enviros were forced to accept the Sophie’s choice of acceding to a nuclear bailout or else not see legislation promoting important renewable energy and energy efficiency programs move forward. That’s not good energy policy, nor good governance. That’s legalized extortion.
--Dave Kraft, director, Nuclear Energy Information Service, Chicago--
Although it is now very late in the game, there is still time to take action to oppose Exelon's massive nuclear power subsidies in IL. If you live in IL, please take action ASAP -- see NEIS's action alert below. If you know people who live in IL, please get word to them, and urge they take action ASAP, as well.
NEIS ACTION ALERT -- IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED!
- NO bailouts for Exelon's aging, money losing reactors
- Fix the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), once and for all
- Support community created and controlled jobs in renewable energy and energy efficiency
- Enact a "just transitions" program for reactor communities and displaced workers;
- Enact strong reactor decommissioning laws