Sen. Rezin disappointed Illinois Senate adjourns without voting on energy legislation

‘I am sorry to say that we didn’t quite make it,’ senator says

State Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, said she was disappointed the Illinois Senate adjourned without voting on any energy legislation to keep nuclear power plants open.

“This is a bill that we have been working on for well over a year and a half and we had come to an agreement on the nuclear portion of the bill,” Rezin said in a statement Wednesday.

“Unfortunately, the governor’s unrealistic demands in his bill, proposals that would cost thousands of jobs and potentially increase our electric bills up to 20%, were the reason the Illinois Senate did not take a vote on any energy legislation. There simply was not enough support for the governor’s plan, and he was not willing to negotiate with the unions.”

Senate President Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, said there are still points of contention between two critical constituencies – between labor and the environmental activists – and representatives there will continue to meet, according to Capitol News Illinois.

Harmon said he was “confident that the bill as proposed would not have passed today” if brought for a floor vote. Still, he said he is “confident” an energy bill will pass this summer.

Hours earlier, in an Energy and Public Utilities Committee hearing, Senator Bill Cunningham, D-Chicago, said the bill had stalled amid disagreements over decarbonization measures aimed at taking coal and gas plants offline, reported Capitol News Illinois.

The governor’s office initially favored a timeline that would require coal plants to be forced offline by 2030, but that was pushed back in negotiations until 2035, Capitol News Illinois reported. Much of the negotiation in recent days centered on whether the state would allow the gas and coal-fired plants to install carbon sequestration technology to bury emissions underground in order to meet declining carbon caps.

“I would like to thank AFL and IBEW 15 for all of their efforts to get this bill passed,” Rezin said. “I thought we were almost across the finish line last week, and I am sorry to say that we didn’t quite make it.”

• Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois contributed to this report.