State Representative Jeff Keicher, R-Sycamore, issued the following statement after the Illinois House of Representatives voted Thursday to approve energy legislation, Senate Bill 2408:
“I made the decision to vote for the energy bill not only to support the men and women of the Byron plant; because their jobs hold a greater importance than to just their own livelihoods. But also specifically to the carbon free energy future we all need in Illinois, the economic impact to our area and the reliability of available base power no matter how cold or hot our seasons become. No bill this large and wide-ranging is without flaws. There are many aspects of this package I would vote against if they were in a standalone bill. This package was put together with pain felt in every sector to get people across our state to the table on a comprehensive energy package.
From the beginning of this energy evaluation I have been an advocate for preserving the impact Byron has on Illinois; and at the end of these many months of negotiations and setbacks, that imperative guided my decision. Illinois needs the carbon free, reliable energy produced by our nuclear fleet. This bill also keeps promises that were made by the 20 electric cooperatives and 36 municipalities that are part of Prairie State Energy, which is important.”
Nuclear energy is essential to keep the lights on and keep vulnerable residents safe during extreme conditions like a heat wave or polar vortex. We cannot afford to diminish Illinois’ capacity as an energy-producing state, with electric vehicles manufactured at an increasing rate and a wide range of other devices we depend on daily requiring consistent and safe energy sources. Now is not the time to have a question regarding availability of energy in Illinois.”
I wish to thank all my constituents who reached out to me recently and throughout the past year to share their concerns and feedback on the priorities the General Assembly needed to consider in this bill. I have had detailed discussions with many constituents on this and without exception the response I was given is do what we can to preserve Byron’s viability long-term. While this bill may not satisfy everyone, and I know my decision will get much criticism, I believe it provides the most good for the most people while putting Illinois and our region in a strong position for the future success we all envision.”
Representative Keicher serves the 70th District, which includes portions of the counties of DeKalb, Kane and Boone.