State legislators

Left to right: State Sen. Robert Peters (D-13th) and Reps. Curtis J. Tarver II (D-25th) and Kambium Buckner (D-26th)

The Illinois Environmental Council named Hyde Park–Kenwood's Springfield delegation "emerging environmental champions" for their freshman-year voting records.

“I will always support legislation that leads to a greener, more sustainable future for our communities, state, country and planet,” said Sen. Robert Peters (D-13th) in a statement. “Climate change continues to pose an existential threat, and I vow to continue fighting alongside the IEC until the climate change crisis has been dealt with, no matter how long that may take.”

Jennifer Walling, the nonprofit's executive director, released the report with the caveat that none of the bills the council supported received a vote during the General Assembly's shortened spring session.

While legislators are set to return to the capital for only six days in the next two months for a veto session, Peters said it is possible that the Clean Energy Jobs Act, introduced in January 2019 when Democrats won total control of the state government, will receive a vote.

"I am cautiously optimistic that we can address an urgent crisis such as climate change by passing CEJA," he said over text. "Environmental justice fights provide an opportunity to create systemic change across race, gender, and class that lasts for generations."

State Reps. Curtis J. Tarver II (D-25th), who represents Kenwood east of South Woodlawn Avenue and Hyde Park east of South Ellis Avenue, and Kambium Buckner (D-26th), are co-sponsoring the legislation. Neither responded to requests for comment about their designation by the Illinois Environmental Council or the CEJA's prospects in the veto session.

CEJA would put the Illinois Power Agency in control of the state's market for energy capacity, or the process by which an electricity generator agrees to supply a certain amount of energy at a given time. Advocates argue that the current set-up disadvantages renewable resources.

In January, Capitol News Illinois reported that the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition renewed its push for the bill after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission voted to change the rules for the electrical grid Illinois and portions of 12 other states are on regarding the minimum offer price a generator can bid. Critics said that vote would force Illinoisans to pay more for power generated by coal and other fossil fuels.

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