Lawmakers - Closing Nuclear Plant Will Hurt Entire Region

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Clinton – A full court press is underway by two central Illinois lawmakers fighting to keep the Exelon nuclear power station in Clinton open.

Exelon has threatened to close the plant which is no longer economically viable.  A bill is pending at the Capitol that would provide the utility with relief from some environmental regulations and state tax credits may also be available.

State Representative Bill Mitchell, (R) Forysth, and State Senator Chapin Rose, (R) Mahomet, met with civic and business leaders in Clinton on Thursday.  Their message is closing the Clinton plant would hurt DeWitt County but it will also have a devastating ripple effect on the entire central Illinois economy.

“It’s felt in Decatur.  It’s felt in Bloomington.  It’s felt in Champaign-Urbana,” stated Rose.  Rose went on to point out that electric rates for consumers and business could see dramatic increases if the facility stops operating.  “One of the few economic advantages left to business in Illinois to grow, create and maintain jobs is the relatively low price of power compared to other states.”

“Fifty percent of the state’s power is from nukes and if you take that off the grid the price of your energy is going up,” according to Mitchell.  “As legislators for this area we want to keep jobs.  We want to keep the tax revenue here local.”

The nuclear power station and related businesses employ 1,900 people across the region.  700 jobs are directly connected to the plant.  Mitchell says the mean income for workers at the plant is $90,000 a year.

Exelon is committed to keeping the plant open until May 2017.  A decision as to whether it should remain open will come later this year.

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