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April 19, 2001

Ryan Seeks Input on the Development of Statewide Energy Policy

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today asked the citizens of Illinois to help the state's Energy Cabinet develop a statewide policy on energy that will coexist with the short-term and long-term goals of the Bush administration in forming a federal energy strategy for the country.

The Illinois policy will cover issues concerning efficiency and conservation, safety, environmental protection, sources of power, distribution, renewable supplies, competition and affordability.

Recently, Ryan sent a letter to Vice President Cheney regarding the need for a national energy policy. Ryan suggested that a federal energy task force specifically address several issues affecting Illinois consumers. These issues include the potential for high summertime gasoline prices in the Midwest, the disposal of radioactive wastes from nuclear power plants, the relationship of electric prices to natural gas prices, clean coal technology, an expansion of the low income home energy assistance program and the promotion of ethanol and other renewable fuel sources.

To assist in the discussion over a state energy policy, the Energy Cabinet released an education and discussion document entitled "Preparing an Energy Policy for the State of Illinois" that condenses all of the various issues that the Cabinet believes will form the basis of the statewide policy.

"With last summer's high gasoline prices in Illinois and the on-going energy crisis in California, it's apparent more than ever that Illinois must be ready with a strategy that will help us deal with every possibility," Ryan said. "When I formed the energy Cabinet earlier this year, I instructed them to develop an energy policy that will guide state government's decisions far into the future. The public's input is an important part of that process."

In conjunction with Argonne National Laboratory, Ryan also held a two-day discussion of top environmental, industry and government officials to further the development of a comprehensive and flexible statewide energy policy. These discussions and the group's follow-up work will be included with public comments on a new policy.

"We cannot develop a workable policy in a vacuum," Ryan said. "A cohesive policy requires the assistance of experts from all disciplines, including the fields of environmental and consumer protection, generation, transmission and distribution."

The planning document outlines the basic core principles of an energy strategy, facts about energy use and generation in Illinois, and the key components that the cabinet believes must be included in any statewide plan:

  • Keeping supply close to demand

  • Movement toward responsible competition

  • Financial assistance for low-income individuals

  • Consumer education

  • Adequate transmission and distribution

  • Efficiency and conservation

  • Public health and safety

  • Nuclear power

  • Energy and agriculture

  • Native renewable energy sources

  • Gasoline and transportation policy

  • Coordination of federal and international issues

  • Environmental protection

  • Responsible use of Illinois coal

  • Responsible use of Clean Energy Community Foundation

  • Economic development of energy-related products

With the public's input, the Energy Cabinet will then take the next steps toward the development of a statewide energy policy that is useful, realistic, forward thinking and flexible.

Over the last two years, Ryan has championed the greater use of Ethanol to supplement the gasoline needs of the state and nation and he has asked President Bush to keep federal clean air rules in place that would require California to use ethanol in its summer gasoline supplies.

He worked with the General Assembly this past winter to expand the state's Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program so that an additional 142,000 households can tap into LIHEAP assistance to pay their heating bills.

This week Ryan announced that he would convene a summit of legislators and coal industry leaders with the goal of drafting a long-term plan for the use of Illinois coal. To date, the governor has committed $95 million in new technologies to fight air pollutants and to help power plants and industries make the use of Illinois coal more environmentally friendly. Today, Illinois Coal production stands at 40.3 million tons.

Individuals, organizations or businesses that want to comment on the development of a statewide energy policy can find the discussion document at www.state.il.us/gov/pdf/energydoc.pdf. All comments should be directed in writing to the Energy Cabinet through Renee Cipriano, senior advisor for environment and natural resources or Eric Brenner, senior advisor for regulatory affairs. The contact information is:

Illinois Statewide Energy Policy
C/O Deirdre McQuillen
James R. Thompson Center, Suite 16-100
Chicago Illinois 60601


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