bush energy 050621SPRINGFIELD – More than 20 years ago, a nuclear plant in the district State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) represents shut its door. People lost jobs and the community was eviscerated.

To help provide jobs in areas where coal plants, coal mines or nuclear plants have closed and to foster the development of green energy across the state, Bush passed a measure Thursday to create the Energy Transition Zone Act.

“To protect our environment and stop global warming, we need to close coal plants – that’s not up for debate,” Bush said. “But, as we make strides toward green energy, we can’t forget about the families who rely on these plants to put food on the table or the communities that need their tax dollars to function.”

Under the Energy Transition Zone Act – which would be created if Senate Bill 1747 is signed into law – areas that contain coal energy plants, coal mines, or nuclear energy plants could apply to become “energy transition zones.”

The plants or coal mines in the area must have shut down in the previous 10 years, or the municipality must contain a nuclear plant that was decommissioned but continued storing nuclear waste prior to the effective date of the measure.

Once designated an energy transition zone, green energy enterprises will be able to apply for a number of tax benefits, be exempt from state or local taxes on gas and electricity, and have the ability to purchase certain building materials exempt from use and occupation taxes to be used for green energy projects.

In total, there are 12 closed coal plants – including eight that have shut down in the past 10 years.

“As we continue down this road of no coal and transition away from nuclear natural gas – as we continue to move forward – we need to make sure there’s something to help the communities that coal built,” Bush said. “If we don’t plan now to ensure there are programs available for these communities, we are putting them at a grave disadvantage.” 

The measure passed the Senate Thursday. It now heads to the House for further consideration.