Lawmakers, Gov. JB Pritzker negotiate

Lawmakers, Gov. JB Pritzker negotiate


Illinois state Sen. Michael Hastings, D-Frankfort, center, is congratulated after the omnibus energy bill passes the Illinois Senate in the early morning hours at the state Capitol. [Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register]

Tuesday’s accidental release of a coal-ash dust cloud at City Water, Light & Power’s Dallman Power Station in Springfield happened about nine hours before the Illinois Senate passed a clean-energy bill that would close the coal-fired plant by 2045.

Elizabeth Scrafford, a spokeswoman for The Sierra Club, said the release was “just another reminder of why we need to move beyond coal as soon as possible.”

But a key negotiator on the energy legislation in the House, which could return to Springfield within days to consider the Senate’s bill after a one-day special session Tuesday, said the incident doesn’t add any more urgency to the importance of phasing out fossil fuel-fired electric generating plants.

“We know the reality of the plants,” state Rep. Marcus Evans Jr., D-Chicago, told The State Journal-Register. “We know the risks. The question is, ‘What can we do?’ We’ve got to do something while delivering good jobs and power reliability.”

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