ALTON — Residents of all ages stood outside state Sen. William Haine’s office Wednesday morning to ask for his support for the Clean Power and Clean Jobs Bill before the crowd of 30 individuals moved down the street to state Rep. Daniel Beiser’s office.
The rally was organized by the Sierra Club, but members of the Youth Environmental Network were invited to the event to show support from the next generation.
“We really want to encourage students from other schools to form environmental clubs,” Edwardsville High School Environmental Club President Ian Vitoff said. “We would love to work together and connect to get more accomplished. If we share common goals as young people, we can collaborate on campaigns across the state of Illinois to make changes when it comes to clean air, clean jobs and clean energy. We want to connect and empower today’s youth so we can help make the changes that our generation will have to live with along with the generation after us.”
The Clean Power Plan aims to reduce the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions and offer Illinois an opportunity to modernize how it obtains energy while creating jobs and reducing pollution.
Illinois could be one of the top five states most affected by the Clean Power Plan, with 32,000 jobs created annually under the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill (HB 2607 and SB 1485) and lower utility rates through energy efficiency.
“We are here to support the president’s Clean Power Plan,” Sierra Club founding co-chairman Chris Krusa said. “The announcement was made the day before yesterday (Aug. 3), and we are calling on Senator Haine and Representative Beiser to support the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill. We are excited about the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. This bill is a big step forward. Our air quality in Madison County will benefit greatly. Our area has an F grade for air quality with the American Lung Association.”
Supporters say the bill’s market-based approach will help reduce carbon pollution in a cost-effective manner while creating clean energy jobs throughout Illinois.