FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 1, 2016

LVEJO statement on passage of Future Energy Jobs Bill

Contact: Juliana Pino – jpino@lvejo.org, Phone number: 312-344-3143

SPRINGFIELD, IL — The Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO) is pleased to announce the passage of the Future Energy Jobs Bill after years of education, hard-fought negotiation, and collaboration through the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition, a group of frontline environmental justice groups, environmental organizations, social justice advocates, clean energy businesses, labor unions, and many others. Environmental justice communities and low-income communities of color across the entire state of Illinois will now gain access to crucial, money-saving energy efficiency and renewable energy while avoiding harms from burning fossil fuels.

“LVEJO is committed to fighting for a new clean energy economy that not only includes — but prioritizes and centers — low-income communities of color that have been harmed by toxic pollution, are the most vulnerable to climate change, and are leaders in the frontline battle for environmental and climate justice,” said Kimberly Wasserman, LVEJO Executive Director and Goldman Prize recipient for North America 2013. “The programs in the Future Energy Jobs Bill represent over $750 million dollars in committed spending on benefits to low-income households, including some of the nation’s leading advances for access to energy efficiency and renewable energy in environmental justice communities, as well as real opportunities for careers and economic justice.”

The Future Energy Jobs Bill includes $25 million in annual spending on low-income energy efficiency programs. Over three times the amount of current spending levels in the state of Illinois and coupled with millions of dollars committed to increases in bill assistance, these programs will save money for families struggling to pay their energy bills. LVEJO participated as a lead architect of critical policies serving low-income communities in the legislation, including the new Illinois Solar for All — a nation-leading low-income solar program with targeted goals for environmental justice communities. The program is paired with a jobs training pipeline that will target recruitment in these same communities, with additional incentives to hire 2,000 individuals with criminal records and alumni of the foster care system.

LVEJO applauds the leadership of Representative Silvana Tabares, Senator Martin Sandoval, and Senator Antonio Munoz in voting to support clean energy development and access.

“While the bill contained compromises, including a nuclear subsidy LVEJO does not support, we collaborated with other members of the Clean Jobs Coalition and leaders across the state to fight demand rates and coal subsidies. The creation of the Illinois Solar for All program is a tremendous step forward in expanding access to the clean energy economy and we look forward to working with ComEd and frontline leaders to ensure a robust and effective job training pipeline for low-income communities across Illinois,” stated Kimberly Wasserman. “This is a critical step to ensure the health and well-being of our environments through a just transition.”

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