This week, Governor Pritzker signed a bill that regulates the toxic coal ash impacting our communities. As an Outreach Director for the Faith in Place Action Fund and one of the leaders of Clean Power Lake County, I am so grateful for everything you did to help make this law a reality. We are grateful to see this big step forward, and sincerely thank all the organizers and advocates who fought hard for this victory. We were even featured in the Chicago Tribune! [Read more…]
Right now, a bill is working its way through Congress called the RECLAIM Act, which commits $1 billion to help clean up dangerous abandoned coal mines while creating thousands of reclamation jobs across the country.
Abandoned mine sites create problems such as polluted streams, underground mine fires, and piles of coal waste. The funding is intended to help resource-strapped states and tribes clean up over 20,000 high priority sites that remain unaddressed.
Unfortunately, Congressman Rodney Davis still hasn’t signed on as a cosponsor.
Coal companies are shutting down unprofitable, dirty coal plants in states across the country, and they’re leaving workers behind. This bill would provide an immediate economic boost to communities by putting laid-off miners to work, while protecting the planet for future generations.
Tell Congressman Rodney Davis to support the RECLAIM Act today!
From protecting Illinois communities from toxic coal ash and dangerous Ethylene Oxide emissions, to creating a new Clean Water Workforce Pipeline to provide training and resources for careers in water infrastructure, we have a lot to celebrate from the past few months. Each of these bills passed both the Senate and the House, and we now need the Governor to sign these important environmental justice bills. If you haven’t already, please take a moment to tell Governor Pritzker to sign our bills into law without delay!
We aren’t done yet. Right now, we’re just three votes away from having enough votes to pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA) in the Senate.
And there is a fierce urgency to this moment; if we don’t pass CEJA soon, we won’t have the resources we need to build clean energy infrastructure across the state. That means a lot of qualified people won’t be hired or could lose the jobs that they already have. That’s why I’ve been spending a lot of time meeting with our elected officials to stress the importance of this moment.
We always talk about the importance of protecting our planet, with good reason, but this is also a jobs bill. Too many people in our communities don’t have access to careers in this growing field. The Clean Energy Jobs Act would change that, and that’s why I hope you will take two minutes right now to contact your legislators!
The Illinois General Assembly will be back in session in October, and we’re planning a big Lobby Day for the 29th. Save the date, and stay tuned for more details!
Thank you for all of your work,
Pastor Scott Onque’
Today, our very own Pastor Scott Onque’ was published in the Chicago Sun-Times! See what our Policy Director had to say below, then take action by signing up to join us on May 9th for Lobby Day!
This week is Holy Week in the Christian faith and Passover in the Jewish faith. As a pastor, this is a big week.
This year, my focus is to bring the light of faith and action to the crucial issue of our environment and how we interact with our planet.
Climate change is the moral issue of our time, and I wonder if we will truly stand up and defend the amazing planet God created? Or will we resign from the battle and continue to destroy it for our future generations?
I have faith that we can join together and defend our planet.
As policy director with the Faith in Place Action Fund — a group of faith and conscience that promotes political action for environmental justice in Illinois — we are committed to seeing Illinois become the leader in these issues.
Faith in Place Action Fund is strongly supportive of the Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA), which is currently being considered in Springfield. As part of the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition, we helped facilitate more than 75 events throughout the state to hear from neighbors, small businesses, labor, workers, clergy and corporations about their goals for a clean energy future.
The priorities of CEJA reflect this feedback. We invite you to join us May 9, in Springfield, to meet with your legislators and rally to support 100 percent clean energy by 2050.
Additionally, we are very encouraged by the latest Chicago City Council resolution calling for Chicago’s energy to be 100 percent renewable by 2035.
Goals are important and valuable. I know our organizers and advocates will hold our City Council accountable to that goal.
We are excited to work with Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot, who publicly supported CEJA, and committed to various other environmental justice initiatives on our questionnaire. Lightfoot’s coalition for change has the power to have real impact in traditionally underserved communities in Chicago.
As we gather with family this week, I humbly ask you to include our planet in your prayers. We must have faith that our planet will sustain us, but we must also take action to be sure of it.
Pastor Scott Onque’, policy director, Faith in Place Action Fund
Congratulations to our very own Veronica Kyle for being selected to join Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot’s Environmental Transition Committee! This is a great opportunity to ensure environmental justice is a key priority for this administration.
In her work she seeks to bring people to the table that are often not involved in conversations around Earth care, including African American, Latino, and affluent suburb communities. She has done this work by creating award-winning programs that bring about diversity and cross-cultural community engagement.
Veronica’s work has been nationally recognized as the 2013 Audubon/Toyota Green Fellow and a 2014 Northern America Association of Environmental Educators Fellow. She is currently serving a 4th term as an appointed Environmental Justice Commissioner for the State of Illinois.
Today, I’m excited to announce the Clean Energy Jobs Act, a revolutionary bill that would take action to address the climate crisis and transition Illinois to a clean energy economy for all.
This bill represents a turning point for our state. Instead of suffering the health and economic impacts of fossil fuels, we can build wealth through clean energy careers for people in communities that suffer most from environmental degradation.
Building on the overwhelming success of the Future Energy Jobs Act passed in 2016, the Clean Energy Jobs Act will:
- Put Illinois on a path to 100% renewable energy by 2050;
- Cut carbon from the power sector by 2030;
- Replace 1 million diesel vehicles with electric vehicles, mass transit, and other alternatives; and
- Create jobs and economic opportunity by:
- Building Equity in the Clean Energy Workforce
- Creating Clean Jobs Workforce Hubs
- Creating a Contractor Incubator Program
- Expanding Solar for All
Pastor Scott Onque
Last week, Governor Pritzker signed an executive order making Illinois the 18th member of the U.S. Climate Alliance! We’re excited to see Illinois take a stand to protect our planet, even as the federal government tries to exit the Paris Agreement, which is a worldwide effort to combat climate change. This is a great sign that we can have a productive year in Illinois. Learn more about the Alliance here!
We’re also excited to announce the launch of our 2019 Action Fund Video Series! Each month, we’ll be sharing a new video from an elected official, board member, or community leader to discuss how to take action with the Action Fund! Our Policy Director, Pastor Scott Onque, kicked off the video series in a Facebook Live video last week. Take a look and stay tuned for more updates about how to get involved!
Rev. Brian Sauder
P.S. Save the date! We’re headed to the State Capitol on Thursday, May 9th this year to advocate for clean energy and just jobs. We’ll have more information soon!