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BEST Coalition turns its back on the environment with disingenuous energy study

April 21st, 2015 | Posted by Doug01 in news

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                        Contact: Doug O’Brien 312-363-8447

April 21, 2015.  Chicago, IL–The recent study paid for by the political opponents of the state’s nuclear industry is a simplistic attempt to distract from the fundamental structural problems in Illinois’ energy market and the need to preserve a competitive and carbon-free nuclear component.

The proposed Low Carbon Portfolio Standard seeks to fix a situation that subsidizes some forms of carbon-free generation but results in market conditions that unfairly penalize the largest carbon-free generator in Illinois—nuclear power.

For a group that claims to support reducing carbon pollution to help alleviate climate change, the BEST Coalition is recklessly fighting to increase carbon emissions.  The precedent is clear and unmistakable.  In Germany, where political pressure led to the closing of much of the country’s nuclear fleet, the resulting void in generation led to greatly increased reliance on coal and natural gas generation.  This led to a significant increase in Germany’s carbon footprint as well as a doubling of consumer energy rates.

Rather than proposing solutions, the BEST Coalition study seeks to exaggerate price impacts and ignores the costs consumers already pay for the various subsidies and rate support that serve to distort the existing market.  It also ignores the much bigger costs to consumers if Illinois loses thousands of jobs, tax revenues, and economic activity produced by nuclear power.  It also ignores the estimated $18 billion in social costs taxpayers would incur from the added pollution that would result from closing Illinois plants, according to the state EPA.

The Illinois Clean Energy Coalition supports the development of clean energy sources across the spectrum, but realizes that it is not possible or wise to sacrifice nuclear generation when other clean sources are nowhere near able to replace potential lost generation.

Replacing the millions of megawatts of nuclear generation potentially lost to misaligned policies would require an increase in wind and solar power that is simply not possible in the near term.  Instead, lost nuclear generation would result in increased dependence on fossil fuels and actually negate the supposed objective of the BEST Coalition.

Those who are truly committed to reduced emissions, a cleaner environment, and economic growth should strongly support preserving a robust and competitive nuclear industry in Illinois, rather than trying to divert attention with dubious statistics and ad hominem attacks that jeopardize the future of working families and Illinois communities.

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