For Immediate Release
Friday, February 4th, 2022
Contact: William Z. Riley, Deputy Chief of Staff
Office@repevans.com | (773) 783-8492
State Rep. Evans Brings Clean Offshore Wind to Illinois, Long Term Clean Jobs to Chicago’s Black and Brown Communities
*Key first step for the Illinois Rust Belt to Green Belt Pilot Program Act*
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Legislation that would position Illinois to lead on offshore wind in the Great Lakes and create long term, good-paying jobs for Chicago’s black and brown communities made its way through committee today.
The Rust Belt to Green Belt Pilot Program Act (House Bill 4543), introduced by State Rep. Marcus C. Evans, Jr. (D-Chicago), passed the House Public Utilities Committee on Tuesday, February 1st, 2022. The bill would allow Illinois to pursue federal funding to build an offshore wind port on Chicago’s Southeast Side, ultimately righting the wrongs of generations of environmental racism.
“This bill sends the message nationally that Illinois is ready to lead the Great Lakes offshore wind development, while locally it has the potential to bring jobs and clean air to an area of our state that for generations has suffered from environmental racism,” State Rep. Marcus C. Evans, Jr. (D-Chicago) said. “This bill brings innovation to the state of Illinois and opportunity to our black and brown communities on Chicago’s South Side.”
The bill would create the Illinois Rust Belt to Green Belt Fund within the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) to capture part of the $17.1 billion for ports made available through the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure package – specifically the 68% percent of $17.1 billion designated for new port construction. This fund would support port construction and infrastructure workforce development related to offshore wind, by providing grant funding and other financial assistance. It will potentially train and facilitate the employment of historically underrepresented communities.
Upwards of 1,000 skilled jobs that span construction, implementation, operations, and maintenance would be created by an offshore wind pilot project, in addition to the thousands of jobs that could be created for port construction.
Labor groups, environmental, and clean energy advocates, including Blacks in Green, People for Community Recovery, Sierra Club, the Chicago Federation of Labor, Chicago and Cook County Building Trades Council, IBEW 134, Chicago Laborers District Council, Teamsters Joint Council 25 and International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 have signed on as proponents to the bill.
The bill now goes to the full Illinois House of Representatives for further consideration.
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