Bill Text: IL HB3445 | 2023-2024 | 103rd General Assembly | Veto Message

Bill Title: Reinserts the provisions of the engrossed bill with the following changes: Further amends the Illinois Power Agency Act. Provides that the Illinois Power Agency shall commission and publish a policy study to evaluate the potential impacts of specified proposals on the environment, grid reliability, carbon and other pollutant emissions, resource adequacy, long-term and short-term electric rates, environmental justice communities, jobs, and the economy. Provides that the Agency shall retain the services of technical and policy experts with energy market and other relevant fields of expertise, solicit technical and policy analysis from the public, and provide for a 20-day open public comment period after publication of a draft study, which shall be published no later than 20 days after the comment period ends. Provides that the final policy study shall be published by January 1, 2024 with suitable copies delivered to the Governor and members of the General Assembly. Provides that the policy study shall include policy recommendations to the General Assembly. Provides that the Illinois Commerce Commission, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity shall provide support to and consult with the Agency and the Agency may consult with other State agencies, commissions, or task forces as needed. Amends the Illinois Procurement Code to exempt the procurement of technical and policy experts for the policy study. Amends the Counties Code. In provisions concerning regulation of commercial wind energy facilities and commercial solar energy facilities, provides that a public hearing shall be held not more than 60 days (rather than 45 days) after the filing of the application for the facility. Provides that the amount of any decommissioning payment shall be in accordance with financial assurance required by the agricultural impact mitigation agreements (rather than limited to the cost identified in the decommissioning or deconstruction plan, as required by the agricultural impact mitigation agreements, minus the salvage value of the project). Provides that a facility shall file a farmland drainage plan with the county and impacted drainage districts outlining how surface and subsurface drainage of farmland will be restored during and following construction or deconstruction of the facility, and specifies requirements of the plan. Requires vegetation management plans to comply with the agricultural impact mitigation agreement and underlying agreements with landowners where the facility will be constructed. Adds language requiring a facility owner to compensate landowners for crop losses or other agricultural damages resulting from damage to the drainage system caused by the construction of the facility, repair or pay for damage to the subsurface drainage system, and repair or pay for the restoration of surface drainage caused by the construction or deconstruction of the facility. Provides that a facility owner with siting approval from a county to construct a commercial wind energy facility or a commercial solar energy facility is authorized to cross or impact a drainage system, including, but not limited to, drainage tiles, open drainage ditches (rather than open drainage districts), culverts, and water gathering vaults, owned or under the control of a drainage district under the Illinois Drainage Code without obtaining prior agreement or approval from the drainage district in accordance with the farmland drainage plan (removing an exception requiring the facility owner to repair or pay for the repair of all damage to the drainage system caused by the construction of the commercial wind energy facility or the commercial solar energy facility within a reasonable time after construction of the commercial wind energy facility or the commercial solar energy facility is complete). Amends the Public Utilities Act. Provides that the Illinois Commerce Commission, in order to develop a regulatory structure for utility thermal energy networks that scale affordable and accessible building electrification, protect utility customers, and promote the successful planning and delivery of thermal energy networks, shall convene a workshop process for the purpose of establishing an open, inclusive, and cooperative forum regarding such thermal energy networks. Amends the Freedom of Information Act to make conforming changes. Effective immediately.

Spectrum: Moderate Partisan Bill (Democrat 7-2)

Status: (Vetoed) 2023-11-08 - Bill Dead - No Positive Action Taken - Amendatory Veto [HB3445 Detail]

Download: Illinois-2023-HB3445-Veto_Message.html

August 16, 2023

To the Honorable Members of

The Illinois House,

103rd General Assembly:

Today, I return House Bill 3445, an energy omnibus bill, with specific recommendations for change.

House Bill 3445 is an omnibus energy bill that makes changes to the Adjustable Block Grant program to make it more available to public schools, requires IPA to conduct a study evaluating several policy proposals, amends existing law regarding siting for renewable energy projects, requires the Illinois Commerce Commission to conduct a thermal energy network workshop, and gives incumbent utility providers the right of first refusal over new transmission projects in the MISO region.

My administration appreciates the hard work of the sponsors of this legislation in the House and Senate. House Bill 3445 contains many valuable provisions to advance energy policy in Illinois. However, the right of first refusal language inserted by Senate Amendment 4 will eliminate competition and raise costs for rate payers by giving incumbent utility providers in the MISO region a monopoly over new transmission lines. Raising costs for rate payers is particularly concerning in the MISO region, where there is currently over $3.6 billion in planned transmission construction in the Ameren service territory. Without competition, Ameren ratepayers in downstate Illinois will see higher electricity bills to pay for the higher cost of these transmission projects. Competitively bidding transmission construction, instead of giving the utility a monopoly, has been proven to lower project costs significantly. Just last year, the federal Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission criticized a similar right-of-first-refusal proposal at the federal level, citing the benefits of competition to consumers through lower rates, improved service, and increased innovation. (Comment of U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission to Building for the Future Through Electric Regional Transmission Planning and Cost Allocation and Generator Interconnection, FERC Docket No. RM21-17-000 (Aug. 17, 2022)). My administration has always been committed to working with stakeholders and our partners in the General Assembly to enact meaningful energy policy. However, I cannot support the ROFR provision of this legislation that will unnecessarily put a higher cost burden on consumers.

Therefore, pursuant to Article IV, Section 9(e) of the Illinois Constitution of 1970, I hereby return House Bill 3445, entitled, “An Act Concerning State Government,” with the following specific recommendations for change: On Page 217, line 7, delete “and Article XXIII” and delete the entirety of the language added beginning on page 220, line 18 and continuing through page 224, line 17.

With the above changes, House Bill 3445 will have my approval. I respectfully request your concurrence.


Governor JB Pritzker