DON'T FORGET - ENERGY COUNCIL MEETING - APRIL 2
The Energy Council will welcome House Public Utilities Chairman Walsh and Senate Energy and Public Utilities Chairman Cunningham to our next meeting on April 2nd in Springfield. The legislators will provide an update of ongoing energy issues before the General Assembly. The meeting will be hosted by the Illinois Municipal Electric Agency at 3400 Conifer Dr, Springfield from 10.30a-12pm. Please RSVP here.
It was a busy week last week with the Senate committee deadline on Friday and the House committee deadline this Friday. The House Public Utilities and Energy and Environment (E&E) Committees both held subject matter hearings, leaving a long list of bills for this week. Public Utilities heard subject matter testimony on HB2392 (Conor) which would require a referendum for a state or local-owned water utility to sell a water or sewer utility to a large public utility. No other bills were called.
A few bills were considered in E&E: HB2076 (Villa) which would ban the use of bisphenol A (BPA) in paper products in business and banking records. It impacts receipts, so anyone that has a business that deals with point of sale receipts would likely be impacted - we were opposed; HB2296 (Williams) passed but will receive an additional amendment. The bill would prohibit the disposing of lead-acid batteries to a collection or recycling facility unless that facility knowingly accepts them. It wants to prevent lead-acid batteries from winding up in landfills and ensure they are probably recycling by a facility capable of doing so. HB3658 (Gabel) received partisan leave and passed. The bill will set minimum energy and water efficiency standards to a number of products such as faucets, lamps, dishwashers, etc.
The rest of the Committee heard subject matter testimony on HB2966 (Davis) and HB3624 (Williams). I sent a report around to members on the hearing on Wednesday.
Over in the Senate, Energy and Public Utilities met and moved SB2020 (Hastings), which extends utility formula rates, with an agreement to hold it on 2nd reading as amendments are expected. Numerous bills received an extension, including SB2132 (Castro), the Clean Energy Jobs Act and SB1781 (Cunningham), the Path to 100 Act.
Senate Environment and Conservation passed SB2140 (Ellman). It repeals the Kyoto Protocol, which restricted the State from regulating greenhouse gas emissions. The Chamber opposed the bill. The House passed a version last week.
SB9 (Bennett) passed out to Senate Environment and Conservation but will be held on 2nd. The Senator committed to continued discussions. The bill sets strict coal ash regulations beyond what the federal government requires. The Chamber opposed the bill and IERG testified in opposition.
SB1184 (Fine) passed as well. It would ban the use of coal tar sealant in Illinois. An amendment was offered to limits the bill to Cook, DuPage, Lake, or McHenry counties. The Chamber is opposed to this effort, which has been an effort for at least the last two General Assemblies.
For the full list of last week's activity that we are tracking, see the attached report.
On Tuesday, House Public Utilities will hear HB2861 (Walsh), amdt 1. It is expected the bill will receive additional amendments, but the timing is unknown. At this time, the bill would allow ComEd to take the FRR Alternative through PJM and acquire its own capacity, through the Illinois Power Agency. The bill lays out what capacity shall be purchased, but there are a lot of placeholders still in the legislation to firmly understand how it works. That is why, the Chamber is opposed to the bill in its current form. Understanding the bill will receive additional amendments, the proposal is a major change that could have significant cost implications for the state and ratepayers, and a shift away from the markets.
As for other activity before the Committee, the full Committee list is here. Staff was not aware what would be called yet, but several subcommittees have posted for hearings. There will also be a subject matter hearing on HB2171 (Morrison) and HB2172 (Morrison). Both are in the Regulatory Matters Subcommittee. HB2171 would require natural gas utilities to demonstrate that existing customers will not subsidize the cost of new facilities beyond what is provided for in rules and in excess of certain payments by customers to approve new construction. Further requires the ICC's order for new construction shall address the economic impact on customers. HB2172 which requires a natural gas utility to submit with its annual filing certain information concerning existing and newly installed pipeline facilities to the ICC.
As for bills we will take a position on:
HB2728 (Mah) provides that the IEPA shall consider adverse impacts on environmental justice communities relating to granting a permit or permit renewal before publishing a draft permit for public comment. The bill would codify environmental justice policies that the IEPA considers now and adds requirements beyond current practices. The Chamber is opposed.
HB3093 (Moeller) requires the ICC to consider when considering a permit for a pipeline, the impact on environmental cost and benefits that occur due to changes in the physical or biogeological environment from pipelines. The bill is posted for the Regulatory Matters Subcommittee.
The following bills are in the Hydraulic Fracturing Subcommittee and we are opposed. HB3238 (Chapa LaVia) prohibits fracking; HB3383 (Diedrich) allows a county board to provide consent or denial in sitting fracking sites; HB3386 (Guzzardi) bans fracking.
HB2956 (Davis) would eliminate the exemption set through FEJA for large electricity users (10MW and over) from participating in energy efficiency and demand response programs and charges. The Chamber is opposed.
House E&E will meet at 4pm. For the full list of bills, see the Committee list here.
We are opposed to HB282 (Gabel) which would prohibit certain small drilling wells from classifying as confidential, which Illinois allows to be for two years; and HB2651 (Rameriz) which would institute a deposit fee of 5cents on each beverage container in the state.
We support HB2491 (Walsh) allows a process for the reuse of plastics.
I expect HB2966 (Davis), the Path to 100 Act, and HB3624 (Williams), the Clean Energy Jobs Act, to receive a vote given it is deadline week but be held. The Chamber is opposed to HB3624.
HB1633 (Hoffman) is up in House Judiciary-Criminal at 4pm on Tuesday. The Chamber supports the bill, which would impose stricter criminal penalties on a person who knowingly damages critical infrastructure such as pipelines, railways, transmission, etc. An amendment has been filed to lower the criminal penalties from a Class 1 to Class 3 penalty and add coal mines to the definition of critical infrastructure.
HB2829 (Gong-Gerschowitz) will likely be called in House Judiciary - Civil at 8.30am on Wednesday. The Chamber is opposed and has been leading efforts to oppose the bill. It is a repeat from last year and provides that a person suffering legal wrong or aggrieved because of a final administrative decision is entitled to judicial review to the same extent as a person who is a party. The bill also allows new evidence to be submitted and applies to the Department of Ag, Transportation, Public Health, Natural Resources, and IEPA. It is in Civil Procedure Subcommittee.
The Sustainable Investing Act (HB2460/SB2062) suggests that any public agency shall implement sustainable investment policies and incorporate those into new and existing investments. We are opposed to the bill because we do not see a need for the State to codify policy that State investments on behalf of taxpayers should consider investments from corporations that practice these policies. This is an initiative of the Treasurer's office. The bill was amended to add language that sustainability factors are not the only component of an evaluation of investment decisions. The Treasurer's office hoped this would clarify that the provisions of the bill were not a requirement. Either way, we are still opposed. The bill passed Senate State Government on Wednesday but will be held on 2nd and posted for House State Government on Wednesday this week.
HB1449 (Bennett) could be heard in House Counties & Townships on Thursday. The Chamber is opposed to the bill, which would allow a county to deny a special use permit by vote. Currently, if a country receives a permit from the zoning board it can either approve or send the permit back to the zoning board for changes. The Chamber is opposed to the bill out of concern for the broad implications the bill could have on projects around the state. Projects seeking special use permits and zoning approval should not be subject to unknown factors such as a county board decision, which can often be driven by politics. Permits should be considered subject to the conditions set forth by the permit requirements.
Senate Energy and Public Utilities will hear subject matter testimony on SB2132 (Castro), the Clean Energy Jobs Act and SB1781 (Cunningham), the Path to 100 Act. The bills have received an extension to Thursday and could be moved out on 2nd reading.
The Committee could also hear SB2123 creates the Renewable Energy Pay As You Save Program which allows utility customers to purchase renewable energy and energy storage systems with no upfront payment and to pay for those costs over time on their utility bill.
Senate Environment and Conservation will hear a subject matter on SB1532, legislation to replace lead service pipes across the state.
Finally, HB3142 (Zalewski) is an initiative of the Illinois Chamber and would incentivize data centers in Illinois. An amendment was filed that was not at the request of the Illinois Chamber or its coalition. The bill would require qualifying data centers to fulfill 100% renewable energy requirements and recycle 50% of wastewater generated by the data center. The amendment was from the Illinois Environmental Council. The bill could be heard on Thursday in House Revenue.
For the full list of what's up this week that we are tracking, see the attached report.