Halbrook: Planned Exelon Plant Closures a “strong failure of leadership”

In a statement yesterday, Exelon Generation Chief Nuclear Officer Dave Rhoades announced the closing of 2 nuclear plants in Illinois, saying: “With no signs of a breakthrough on clean energy legislation in Springfield, we have no choice but to take these final steps in preparation for shutting down the plants. We will never stop fighting for policies to preserve Illinois’ nuclear fleet, knowing that the minute these plants close our customers will experience dirtier air and higher energy costs. But with time running out, we must plan for the future and do everything we can to prepare our employees and the communities they serve for what lies ahead.”

State Representative Brad Halbrook issued the following statement in response:   

Exelon’s announcement that they will close both the Byron and Dresden power plants is devastating to hundreds of Illinois workers and their families. The collateral damage caused by those lost jobs will impact their surrounding communities immeasurably. 

Rhoades statement regarding the closing is an indictment. This is an unforgivable failure of leadership. Springfield Democrats super-veto-proof-majority control over the state legislature was bought and paid for by special interests groups over decades. And this year, they got caught between the massive campaign funding provided by large utility companies and the campaign funding promised by the Green Energy lobby. Workers and families were never a consideration. YOU were never a consideration to our political leadership.

They let their own energy bill fall apart on the floor. They can pass anything they want. They have a Governor who will sign anything they pass. And they let the most consequential bill of the year fall apart on the floor of the Illinois Senate. The deal families, businesses, and power plants deserve is one that provides reliable energy at a fair price and with transparency.  But those deals aren’t the ones Democrats are interested in.

We have fought together to keep energy jobs in Illinois. But our political leadership failed us. They played games with the lives and jobs of real Illinoisans. While Democrats spent years putting millions of dollars into their campaign accounts by hiking up prices on Illinois taxpayers in backroom deals, workers devoted their lives, working day and night, to ensure that we were producing the energy needed to power our economy. They did their jobs, but the politicians who run this state didn’t do theirs. Yet it’s the workers who lose, and not the politicians. 

This is the horrible result of years of political greed and bad policy.