Letter: Seneca schools support the Climate Union Jobs Act

To the Editor:

Since Unit 1 of the La Salle Station was opened in 1982, nuclear power has been an integral part of the communities served by the Seneca schools. Since its inception, this facility has provided a strong property tax base for our community that has allowed our residents to enjoy exemplary educational, library and emergency services while keeping our local tax rates very low. More importantly, the La Salle Station has provided a path to the middle class for so many of our residents via the over 798 quality technical jobs created by this facility. Currently, those 798 employees result in an annual payroll of $103 million, which doesn’t even take into account the nearly 750 indirect jobs created by the economic activity of the La Salle Station. In total, the La Salle Station accounts for 7% of the total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of La Salle County (Statistics via the NIU Center for Governmental Studies). Given the undeniable economic contributions of La Salle Station to our community it is imperative that the state of Illinois pass legislation that values carbon-free energy and allows the Illinois nuclear fleet to remain in operation.

Exelon has cited a variety of reasons for announcing the closure of the Dresden and Byron stations, which included how nuclear power is valued in the marketplace in comparison to wind and solar power. Since that announcement, there have been many state-wide groups advocating for the importance of nuclear power to our state’s base-load energy and skilled labor supply. On March 29, bi-partisan legislation was introduced called the Climate Union Jobs Act (CUJA). Although other energy bills have been filed, CUJA is the only legislation that protects the state’s six nuclear stations and properly values their contribution to reaching the state’s carbon-free energy goals and maintaining the thousands of skilled workers who count on the high quality jobs these nuclear stations provide. It is for these reasons that the Seneca Schools 160 and 170 support the Climate Union Jobs Act and encourages our state legislators to pass this legislation.

Jim Carlson, superintendent, Seneca TWP HSD #160

Eric Misener, superintendent, Seneca CCSD #170