Sixty-eight percent of DeWitt County residents voted for Donald Trump. I wonder if they understood the wet blanket a Trump victory throws on efforts to save the Clinton nuclear power plant.
Refreshed, complicated legislation that would, among many things, channel subsidies to Exelon’s plants at Clinton and the Quad Cities was moved to a front burner as the Illinois General Assembly completed the first half of its fall veto session this week.
Citing $450 million in losses at the plant over the past seven years, Exelon says it will close Clinton next June if what’s now called the “Future Energy Jobs Bill” isn’t passed. A Quad Cities shutdown would occur a year later.
So what’s that have to do with President-elect Trump?
A huge part of the rationale for the bill is the push to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The nuclear power plants are needed, the legislation’s supporters said, if the state is to meet federal carbon-reduction mandates.
President-elect Trump has called human-caused climate change “a hoax” and pledged to “cancel” last year’s Paris climate change agreement. The person he put in charge of leading transition at the Environmental Protection Agency is Myron Ebell, a prominent defender of fossil fuels, the guy who called Pope Francis’ climate change encyclical “scientifically ill-informed, economically illiterate, intellectually incoherent and morally obtuse.”
Trump seems determined to curb the EPA’s power and gut the very climate change policies that are much of the justification for the pending legislation that would save Clinton.
Then, there’s the coal industry. The president-elect has promised to revive it by restoring fossil fuels’ position in America’s energy mix.
In an effort to win southern Illinois support for the “Future Energy” bill, some coal-fired plants in that part of the state would also benefit from the legislation which includes higher electric rates statewide and a new, controversial way to compute bills for Commonwealth Edison customers.
It’s fair to ask whether fossil-fueled power plants will even need a subsidy with Trump in the Oval Office.
The second half of the legislature’s veto session is set for the week after Thanksgiving. Stay tuned. It may be that less complex legislation is the only thing that will save Clinton.
U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood, who represents part of McLean County and points generally west of here, is about to lose his prime office space on Capitol Hill.
LaHood, you’ll recall, won a special election last year to replace Aaron Schock, the former congressman now facing federal indictment. He also temporarily inherited Schock’s spacious, Downton Abbeyesque office in the Rayburn House Office Building. Schock had been in Congress for six years and was part of the Republican leadership.
Just to be clear, LaHood had the suite’s ruby red walls restored to dull beige before he moved in. Now he’s been elected to his own term and must join the congressional pecking order to determine who gets what office.
When he was sworn in to replace Schock 14 months ago, LaHood was dead last in the 435-member pecking order. When the new Congress takes over in January, he’ll have risen to at least No. 380 in the quest for office space and, oh yes, improved committee assignments.
Fitbit says Illinois residents slept better election night than the citizens of most every other state.
The maker of the wireless fitness tracker reports a sampling of its 10 million users found Illinois folks lost only 18 minutes of sleep, on average, election night. That compares with a national average of a half hour.
The worst sleepers election night? Predictably, people who live in the District of Columbia. They had 50 minutes of sleeplessness. Only residents of Alaska and Hawaii lost less sleep than Illinoisans.
Fitbit says election night produced the most sleeplessness nationwide since it started tracking it seven years ago.