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Byron community hopeful after new energy plan passes out of the House

Mayor John Rickard hopes the Senate votes before the closing date on Monday.
Published: Sep. 10, 2021 at 6:20 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 11, 2021 at 11:46 AM CDT
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BYRON, Ill. (WIFR) - The Byron Nuclear Plant is set to permanently close on Monday, unless, the clean energy plan sitting before the Illinois Senate passes soon. Byron residents feel optimistic.

“This is good news,” said Byron Mayor John Rickard. “We’re glad to see that agreement made and hope that with the rest of the energy plan, legislators can see a way to pass it.”

Several entities rely on tax dollars from the plant, like the fire department, museums and forest preserves. However, the local schools get the biggest chunk. According to Mayor Rickard, those taxes cover nearly three quarters of the district’s budget.

“That would certainly have an effect on a town which prides itself on its education of its children,” said Rickard.

Residents think if education declines in the city, so would the community’s appeal to families and homeowners.

“Probably people would start moving. Businesses would start closing. Yeah, it’s huge. It’s really huge,” said Byron resident Marc Romine. “We need to keep that plant operating.”

Romine and other residents said it’s about time lawmakers put up another fight for the plant.

“A lot of people praying and hoping that it does pass, and it’s awfully close,” said Judy Himes. “I know it’s been close all these months.”

Mayor Rickard said the next few days are critical.

“Progress is being made. There’s a chance that we can get the rest of the way here and get to the finish line before Monday,” said Rickard.

The bill needs to be voted on by the Senate, and then sent to the Governor’s desk. The Senate is scheduled to come back on Monday.

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