Byron community forms panel to stop nuclear plant closure

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BYRON, Ill. (AP) — A local panel was recently formed in an Illinois community in hopes of preventing a nuclear energy company from closing its plant.

Byron Station Response Committee plans to develop a “collaborative, broad-based response” to Exelon’s announcement of its intent to close the company’s Byron Station in September 2021.

Superintendent Buster Barton of Byron School District is a member of the group. He said it was created after people reached out following the announcement.

The Byron School Board convened the first meeting on Sept. 10, Sauk Valley Media reported. Last year, the district received more than $19.1 million in taxes from the plant.

“It just goes to show you how much our community cares about our school district and how important the power plant is to our funding,” Barton said in a press release.

The panel said it will need legislative action to support their goal.

“We need to start small in our own local communities to share information and build an understanding to extend our network and message to the surrounding communities and, indeed, all of Illinois,” Byron Mayor John Rickard said.

The group hopes that when the spring legislative session begins, there will be a bill prepared to save the plant.

“It is going to take dedication and stamina, and a bit of patience in order to bring this to the finish line successfully,” Christine Lynde, president of the school board, said in the release.

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