WASHINGTON (WTVO) — Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) is asking President Joe Biden to use emergency powers to keep the Byron nuclear power plant open until Springfield or Washington can enact new energy laws to help the financially struggling plant.
“The failure of leadership in Springfield has been astonishing, and has now made the closures of Byron and Dresden imminent. Despite the fact that Congress is finally poised to pass my bipartisan legislation—the Preserving Existing Nuclear Energy Generation Act, which provides a financial credit program to these plants and others—the program would still take time to implement. And while such legislation would be able to help other struggling nuclear plants around the country, it is unlikely to be able to help Byron or Dresden as they are slated to close in the coming weeks.
“This, of course, is a serious problem and one that requires swift action. My constituents and the communities I serve are desperately asking me for help, so I’m pulling out all the stops.
“As laid out in my letter to the President, there are existing legal authorities for the Biden Administration to save these plants from closure. Therefore, I’m making an urgent plea that they employ these powers to keep our plants online. There are plenty of reasons why this is beneficial: for energy independence and resilience, preservation of sufficient non-emitting baseload power, climate preservation, public health, national defense and security, etc. We cannot turn a blind eye to this problem any longer; we have to save our nuclear plants.
“If Springfield lacks the will to save these plants, and if Congress cannot act quickly enough, then it’s time for the President to step in and consider every possible action to support nuclear power in favor of our collective security—including the security of energy resources, the climate, the economy, and the nation.”
The Senate was considering a move to require nuclear plants to stay open, like the one in Byron, and extend funding for solar projects, but they couldn’t find the votes.
The “Clean Energy Bill” would have created a bill of rights for power plant workers who lost their jobs. It would offer them career counseling, financial planning services, and state-run health insurance plans, and require state agencies to consider them for government jobs.
Exelon has asked for the Byron 1 reactor to be deactivated on September 14th, and the Byron 2 reactor to be deactivated on September 16th.