WROK: Congressman Kinzinger Calls Byron Plant Closure a "Gut Punch"
The announcement came this week that Excelon would be "retiring" the Byron plant in September of next year and the Dresden plan in Morris in November of 2021.
In the aftermath, you've got thousands of Illinois residents wondering what this will mean to them, and the towns that have counted on those plants for economic stability. Right now, as far as I can tell, there have been no concrete answers.
For many in the Rockford area, the Byron plant has always been there. I remember being a twelve year old kid when my dad took me out to the location that had been selected as the site for the Byron plant. At the time we went out there, it was just an enormous hole in the ground, but that quickly changed.
Now things are about to change again, and many Byron residents don't see how that change can possibly be a positive one. I spent some time on the phone with friends in the Byron area, and they are deeply worried. Especially when this news comes as we're all still dealing with this COVID-19 mess.
And it's not just a few people who are worried for their future, as the Byron plant employs 1,500 full time employees and 2,000 supplemental workers. Byron's mayor, John Rickard, says he was shocked and disappointed by the news of the impending closure, saying that losing the plant would be "devastating."
He wasn't alone in that assessment. Here's the statement from 16th District Congressman Adam Kinzinger:
“Today’s announcement to close both the Byron and Dresden power plants is a gut-punch to the people of Illinois, especially to the counties that surround these generating stations. Hundreds of people will now be out of jobs and our efforts to produce clean, affordable, safe nuclear energy will be crushed.
“As a nation, we cannot reach our climate goals without nuclear energy. In Congress, I’ve long fought for nuclear and am doing everything I can at the federal level to save our nuclear fleet. But we need state support.
“What did we get instead? Corruption and bribery by Speaker Mike Madigan and Illinois’ largest electric utility company, ComEd. They put millions of dollars into their own pockets by hiking up prices on Illinois taxpayers, and throwing our nuclear power plants into the crosshairs of their backroom deals.
“The Byron and Dresden nuclear power plants are the latest casualties of the self-serving policies coming from Democrat-led Springfield, and it’s long-past time for a change. To start, I’m calling on Senator Durbin to work with me in Congress to take the Department of Justice fines on ComEd and re-appropriate them to the communities most affected by these plant closures.
“I’ll continue to fight for nuclear energy, for the vital operations of our remaining power plants, and for accountability in our government. Because integrity matters, and Illinois deserves much, much better than this.”