Despite the 'feel-good name,' GOP lawmakers fear Green New Deal will further hurt state's economy
As House Democrats eye legislation that would bring a version of U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal to Illinois, Republicans and industry sources say the bill could wreak havoc with the state's fragile economy.
House Bill 3624, the Clean Energy Jobs-Tech Act, picked up a co-sponsor in Rep. Joyce Mason (D-Gurnee), who joined more than two dozen other Illinois Democrats in supporting the bill through both the Rules and Energy & Environment committees. The House bill and its Senate equivalent, SB 2132, would lay the groundwork for the state to become 100-percent dependent on renewable energy, and contains components aimed at reducing emissions, promoting renewable energy sources, improving energy efficiency and reducing carbon pollution related to transportation.
The bill sets a timetable for Illinois to become carbon-free by 2030 and to rely 100 percent on renewable energy by 2050.
Critics say the legislation would put an artificial timetable for accelerating existing plans for energy efficiency, increase the state’s tax burden and raise utility rates. State Rep. Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur) and others say the mandates are unrealistic and potentially harmful.
“I don’t understand why people are attracted to it other than it’s a feel-good name and message,” he told Lake County Gazette. “It’s not practical, it’s not operational, and even if you were to try to do this, it would be financially ruinous.”
Mark Denzler, president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturing Association, warned that tampering with existing efforts to go green would result in higher energy rates for consumers.
“Government mandates that seek to eliminate the use of current sources of energy will result in significant price spikes for Illinois families and job creators,” he told Lake County Gazette. “Illinois needs to maintain a competitive energy marketplace that uses an ‘all of the above' approach that includes nuclear, coal, natural gas and renewables.”