Hundreds of Illinois coal plant staffers will soon be out of a job. This comes as five local power plants are scheduled to close down, four of them in the next few months.
Activists and lawmakers in Illinois want to amend the proposed Clean Energy Job Act, or CEJA, to ensure those workers can transition into new careers into new careers once those plants close for good.
CEJA was originally introduced this past spring. These new changes, proposed by the clean jobs coalition will include training for jobs in the clean energy field. It will also create incubators to help entrepreneurs start their own clean energy-focused businesses. Tracy Fox with Illinois People’s Action says these programs are needed now.
“Every month we go without addressing this, has very real consequences, it won’t be long before property tax payments are reduced, it will not be long before workers starting drawing on unemployment,” said Fox.
Fox says most of the funding for these programs will come from taxes on current fossil fuel companies. None if this is law yet, CEJA still waits to be voted on. Additionally, Governor Pritzker says the Clean Energy Job Act is unlikely to be voted on this year. He says the state still needs to look at the long term future of energy production.