May 10, 2016

The Honorable Bruce Rauner, Governor of Illinois

The Honorable Michael Madigan, Speaker, Illinois House of Representatives

The Honorable John Cullerton, President, Illinois Senate

The Honorable Christine Radogno, Minority Leader, Illinois Senate

The Honorable Jim Durkin, Minority Leader, Illinois House of Representatives

Mr. Christopher M. Crane, CEO, Exelon

Dick Munson, Environmental Defense Fund, Director, Midwest Clean Energy

Henry Henderson, Director, Midwest Office, Natural Resources Defense Council

Jack Darin, Director, Sierra Club

 

Dear Governor Rauner, Speaker Madigan, President Cullerton, Attorney General Madigan, Minority Leaders Radogno and Durkin, Mr. Crane, and Mr. Munson, Mr. Henderson and Mr. Darin,

We are writing to urge you to achieve a quick and fair resolution of all outstanding issues between parties negotiating an agreement that would protect and grow clean energy in Illinois. Without action this legislative session, Illinois will lose nearly one-quarter of its electricity from clean energy sources, and carbon emissions will increase the equivalent of adding nearly 2 million cars to the road.

Exelon and Commonwealth Edison have introduced new legislation, SB 1585, that includes measures aimed at boosting solar and wind and protecting Illinois’ distressed nuclear plants. The bill as written is good for consumers and good for the environment. The new legislation targets ratepayer support for two economically distressed plants, Quad Cities and Clinton, not all of Exelon’s nuclear fleet.

However, environmental groups have some reasonable concerns, and we thus encourage Exelon and Com Ed to make modest and reasonable changes to the legislation as requested by environmental groups. And we encourage environmental groups to be modest in their demands so that Illinois does not go backwards on clean energy.

We believe all remaining differences can be quickly and easily resolved. The two sides are not far apart on measures that will influence how quickly solar and wind are deployed nor whether the Renewable Portfolio Standard should increase from 25 percent by 2025 to 30 percent by 2030. Since consumer and environmental groups accept existing limits on how much electricity rates can increase, a compromise solution on both differences should be relatively easy.

We would prefer to see Illinois pursue 100 percent clean energy by 2030 — without prejudice or preference toward any technology — a goal that is possible if Illinois included nuclear and coal with carbon capture and sequestration in the state Renewable Portfolio Standard. However, we recognize that our ideal solution is unlikely to happen, and so we encourage Governor Rauer, Speaker Madigan and President Cullerton to put pressure on both sides to get a deal done. 

Illinois sits on a knife’s edge. If it loses one-quarter of its clean energy, it could become one of the worst performing states in the nation in terms of climate and the environment over the next decade. But if it protects and grows its clean energy resources, Illinois could be a national and even international climate leader — a model for reasonable, bipartisan, and technology-agnostic environmental legislation.

We urge you all to do everything in your power to reach a compromise agreement quickly so Illinois can protect is economy, its environment and be an inspiration to the world.

Sincerely,

 

Scientists

 

Barry Brook, Professor and Chair of Environmental Sustainability, University of Tasmania

 

F. Stuart Chapin III, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Ecology, University of Alaska Fairbanks

 

David Dudgeon, Chair of Ecology & Biodiversity, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Hong Kong, China

 

Erle C. Ellis, Ph.D, Professor, Geography & Environmental Systems, University of Maryland

 

Kerry Emanuel, Professor of Atmospheric Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

 

Joseph Fargione, Ph.D, ecologist

James Hansen, Climate Science, Awareness, and Solutions Program, Columbia University, Earth Institute, Columbia University

David W. Keith, Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics, Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University

Pushker Kharecha, Climate Science, Awareness, and Solutions Program, Columbia University, Earth Institute, Columbia University

 

William F. Laurance, PhD, FAA, FAAAS, FRSQ, Distinguished Research Professor & Australian Laureate, Prince Bernhard Chair in International Nature Conservation, Director of the Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Science (TESS), James Cook University Cairns, Queensland 4878, Australia

David W. Lea, Professor, Earth Science, University of California

Michelle Marvier, Professor, Environmental Studies and Sciences, Santa Clara University

Raymond Pierrehumbert, Halley Professorship of Physics, University of Oxford

Joe Mascaro, Program Manager for Impact Initiatives, Planet Labs

 

Robert May, Oxford OM AC Kt FRS, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford

Peter H. Raven, President Emeritus, Missouri Botanical Garden. Winner of the National Medal of Science, 2001

Frank M. Richter, Sewell Avery Distinguished Professor of Geophysics, The University of Chicago 

Jeff Terry, Professor of Physics, Illinois Institute of Technology 

Cagan H. Sekercioglu, professor of conservation ecology, Department of Biology, University of Utah; former senior scientist at the Stanford University Center for Conservation Biology at the University of Utah.

 

Tom Wigley, Climate and Energy Scientist, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO

 

 

Scholars, Conservationists and Environmentalists

Daniel Aegerter, Chairman, Armada Investment

John Asafu-Adjaye, PhD, Senior Fellow, Institute of Economic Affairs, Ghana, Associate Professor of Economics, The University of Queensland, Australia

 

John Crary, Crary Family Foundation

 

Gwyneth Cravens, author, Power to Save the World

 

Christopher Foreman, author, The Promise & Peril of Environmental Justice, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland

 

Valerie Gardner, President, Climate Coalition

 

Kirsty Gogan, Energy for Humanity

 

Joshua S. Goldstein, Prof. Emeritus of International Relations, American University

 

Gene Grecheck, President, American Nuclear Society

 

Garrett Gruener, Managing Director, Gruener Ventures

 

Mel Guymon, Guymon Family Foundation

 

Ross Koningstein, author, "What it would really take to reverse climate change," IEEE Spectrum

 

Joe Lassiter, Professor, Harvard Business School

 

John Lavine, Professor and Medill Dean Emeritus, Northwestern University

 

Martin Lewis, Department of Geography, Stanford University

 

Alan Medsker, Coordinator, Environmental Progress - Illinois

 

Norris McDonald, President, Center for Environment, Commerce & Energy/African American Environmentalist Association

 

Reed F. Noss, Provost's Distinguished Research Professor, Department of Biology, University of Central Florida

 

Carl Page, President, Anthropocene Institute 

 

Chris Johnson, Professor of Wildlife Conservation, University of Tasmania, Australia

Margi Kindig, Wisconsin Governor's Task Force on Global Warming, former Board Chair, Clean Wisconsin

 

Andrew Klein, in-coming President, American Nuclear Society

Steve Kirsch, CEO, Token

 

Mark Lynas, author, The God Species, Six Degrees

 

Steven Pinker, Harvard University, Better Angels of Our Nature

 

Richard Rhodes, Pulitzer Prize recipient, author of Nuclear Renewal and The Making of the Atomic Bomb

 

Paul Robbins, Director, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies

 

Rachel Pritzker, Pritzker Innovation Fund

 

Rathin Roy, Director, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, Delhi, India

 

Ray A. Rothrock, Partner Emeritus Venrock, venture capitalist

 

Samir Saran, Vice President, Observer Research Foundation, Delhi, India

 

Michael Shellenberger, President, Environmental Progress

 

Robert Stone, filmmaker, “Pandora’s Promise”

 

Stephen Tindale, Alvin Weinberg Foundation, former Executive Director, Greenpeace UK

 

Barrett P. Walker, Alex C. Walker Foundation