Senators Stewart, Anderson react to energy bill vote

State Sen. Brian Stewart on Monday said an energy reform bill was full of “poison pills.”

Senators voted, 37-17-3, to pass the bill Monday.

“It’s been nearly two weeks since the Governor and Senate Democrat leaders first jammed through energy reforms to promote special utility interests at the expense of tried and true energy providers. Changes have been made to the legislation since then, but I still stand in strong opposition,” Stewart said in a news release. “No matter what proponents are claiming, these ‘reforms’ have quite a few poison pills that will ultimately hurt Illinois ratepayers, businesses and consumers by significantly increasing utility rates.”

Stewart said the bill puts in place a structure and process that will “insidiously work against nuclear power plants” and that it gave lawmakers two bad options – approve huge financial subsidies to wind and solar companies, paid by ratepayers; or start to dismantle the state’s fleet of nuclear power plants.

“Who do you think will be paying for all these special interest subsidies? What is being called the largest utility rate increase in Illinois history will drive more manufacturers and businesses out of Illinois,” he said. “It will hurt low-income to middle-income homeowners whose power bills will skyrocket. And Senate Bill 2408 is not a friend to nuclear energy. I would have strongly supported provisions to protect the Byron nuclear power plant if they were presented in a stand-alone bill.”

State Sen. Neil Anderson, who represents Rock Island, Whiteside, Carroll and Henry counties, called the bill a “hand-out.”

“Instead of giving a hand-up to our clean energy sector today, a hand-out was given to those advocating for renewable energy, which subsidizes our most cleanest energy through nuclear power with inefficient sources like wind and solar,” Anderson said in a news release.

Anderson also criticized another aspect of the legislation, which he says grants private companies certain land rights. “Property owners will be forced to give up their land and livelihoods to a for-profit company. This is a clear violation of the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution and is just plain wrong.”

Alexa Zoellner

Alexa Zoellner

Alexa Zoellner covers Ogle County for the Oregon Republican Reporter, Forreston Journal, Mt. Morris Times and Polo Tri-County Press. She has six-plus years of experience in journalism and has won numerous awards.

Troy Taylor

Troy E. Taylor

Was named editor for and the Gazette and Telegraph in 2021. An Illinois native, he has been a reporter or editor in daily newspapers since 1989.