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Senate Dems back clean energy, tell governor to commit to Paris Agreement

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Chicago Senators Daniel Biss and Heather Steans joined House Democrats and the Sierra Club Illinois Chapter to introduce legislation to protect the environment and workers and keep Illinois on track to comply with the Paris Climate Agreement guidelines despite signals from the President and Congress to take steps backward on decades-old federal rules.

Biss' legislation would ensure that state-level regulations put in place by the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Occupational Safety and Health Act, among others, remain in place in the event if federal rollbacks.

“It’s time for Illinois to set a goal of 100 percent clean energy for our state. Just because the Trump Administration has declared it will lodge its head firmly in the sand and ignore the need for realistic environmental policy doesn’t mean we can’t act,” Biss said. “These efforts put us on track to comply with the Paris Climate Agreement here in Illinois. I hope it serves as an example to other states as Illinois begins to chart a path to a 100 percent clean energy future.”

Steans announced plans to introduce legislation establishing a goal of 100% clean energy for Illinois to assert state leadership on climate change.

“President Trump made an egregious error when he decided to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement," Steans said. “To combat this decision and ensure that Illinois continues to reduce greenhouse gases, I am working on legislation to move Illinois toward 100 percent clean energy and a bill to increase the use of electric vehicles. I will continue to push Illinois to be an environmental leader.”

The legislation is Senate Bill 2212.

Lawmakers and state officers sent a letter to Governor Rauner this week calling on him to join the United States Climate Alliance following President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.

Climate Letter to Rauner FINAL 1The letter's call to action said, in part: "As governor, your decisions affect life within our borders and in the world at large, and many people throughout our state are looking for your leadership on this issue. To date, we have not heard your stand on this issue. We encourage you to join your peers from California, New York and Washington and lead in combating global warming, drought, stronger storms and other catastrophes that would decimate Illinois’ economy from Southern and Central Illinois farms to Chicago’s lakefront." (Read the full letter here.)

Along with Senate President John Cullerton, our caucus members signing on to the letter include: Sen. Scott Bennett, Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, Sen. Melinda Bush, Sen. Tom Cullerton, Sen. Linda Holmes, Sen. Mattie Hunter, Sen. Toi Hutchinson, Sen. David Koehler, Sen. Terry Link, Sen. Iris Martinez, Sen. Julie Morrison, Sen. Laura Murphy, Sen. Ira Silverstein, Sen. Heather Steans, and Sen. Patricia Van Pelt.