Advocacy: State Legislation
In the spirit of Laudato Si’, a recent Catholic Conference of Illinois statement (CCI) was issued encouraging renewable energy development in Illinois that respects the human dignity of all and aids the poor and vulnerable. Legislation being proposed in Illinois includes the Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA).
The Illinois bishops have not taken a position on CEJA legislation, but CEJA addresses many of their recommendations on advancing renewable energy development, increasing energy efficiency, reinvesting in communities and provisions to increase job opportunities in Illinois’ clean energy workforce. Other reputable environmental organizations involved in these efforts include Faith in Place and Illinois Environmental Council.
In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis states, “There is an urgent need to develop policies so that, in the next few years, the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases can be drastically reduced, for example, substituting for fossil fuels and developing sources of renewable energy.” (26)
Putting Illinois on a path to 100% renewable energy will significantly reduce carbon emissions and encourage electrification of state transportation while creating jobs and economic opportunity.
There are a variety of tools available to educate parishioners and encourage them to:
- Write your Illinois legislators here
- Sign up with the Illinois Catholic Advocacy Network (I-CAN) for action alerts and information on opportunities to lobby
- Form a Creation Care Team at your parish and sponsor spiritual and educational events (e.g., showing movies, inviting speakers)
- Speak to other parishioners about supporting the legislation.
One of most powerful things we can do to advance renewable energy is to tell our Illinois state legislators, whether by email, phone or in person (even via Zoom), to pass legislation. Consider joining small groups of fellow constituents to meet virtually or in person with your state legislators on Clean Energy lobby days. You can sign up for the Illinois Catholic Advocacy Network here for opportunties to communicate and meet with state legislators.
What to expect?
You do not need any previous experience. For lobbying State Representatives and Senators on Clean Energy lobby days, organizations involved in those efforts will set up the meetings and schedule Zoom pre-meetings with you and others in your district to coach you on what to say, the best way to say it, provide additional information on legislation, as well as answer any questions you have. They will also provide a lobby day team leader to be with you.
What to Tell State Legislators (or Parishioners) About Renewable Energy
“Pope Francis has emphasized the urgent need to substitute renewable energy for fossil fuel usage.
Clean energy legislation is under consideration by the Illinois General Assembly, and our Illinois bishops have issued a statement listing principles that must be considered. Although the statement does not support any specific legislation, it does support certain values:
- Expansion and funding of the Illinois Solar for All program
- Expansion and funding of gas energy efficiency programs
- Reinvestment in communities hosting fossil fuel power plants, coal mines or nuclear power plants
- Increase job opportunities in the clean energy industry
Please support these principles in any clean energy legislation. Thank you.”