Oppose Illinois SB 2217 that would Sweep Funds from Clean Energy and Conservation Programs!
Illinois Governor Rauner has called state legislators into special session from June 21 to June 30 to address the state’s budget crisis. The Governor has endorsed the Senate Republican budget plan that would sweep hundreds of millions of dollars from clean energy and conservation funds.
Tell them to oppose efforts to balance the budget with funds taken from important clean energy and conservation programs.
Clean Energy Programs Would Be Devastated.
Last December, legislators with the Governor’s support passed the Future Energy Jobs Act. A critical piece of this law was the designation of approximately $185 million remaining in the state’s Renewable Energy Resources Fund (RERF) to be used for the Illinois Solar for All Program. Legislators committed that the RERF dollars would be used to ensure that new solar development would occur in economically disadvantaged communities and a training pipeline would be set up to provide solar jobs in these areas. The Senate GOP proposal (SB 2217) would sweep every dollar from this program. Incredibly, less than a year after creating the Illinois Solar for All Program, the legislature would take the RERF funds and end the program.
Eco-Justice Collaborative is one of many organizations working to leverage funds from the Future Energy Jobs Act and its Illinois Solar for All Program to create new energy jobs downstate. Our initial focus has been in areas where communities are experiencing jobs losses due to coal mining layoffs or coal plant closures.
Natural Resource Funds Would Also be Swept – Damaging Conservation Programs
The Senate budget plan includes broad language authorizing the sweep of nearly all special funds for 2 years. This would place every conservation fund at risk and jeopardize all of the programs that rely on those funds. This includes the Natural Areas Acquisition Fund (NAAF), Open Space Land Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) fund, Partners for Conservation (which funds Soil and Water Conservation Districts), and many other special funds.