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Letters to the Editor: City must resist pressure to extend coal-powered electricity deal; Ellis Island model is the one to follow for new U.S. immigrants

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City must resist pressure to extend coal-powered electricity deal

As concerned Naperville residents and members of the Naperville Environment and Sustainability Task Force (NEST), we appreciated the article on the front page of the May 29 Naperville Sun describing the difficult decisions Naperville faces with its coal-heavy electrical supply.

We are rightly concerned about the pressure being exerted on the city by the Illinois Municipal Electric Agency (IMEA) to extend the current contract to 2055, a $2 billion commitment. It is financially risky and could condemn the city to be among the country’s least environmentally friendly communities. The article captures the broader issues succinctly and comprehensively.

Why do we consider an early renewal of the contract to be risky?

IMEA is tied to coal with no plan to transition to clean energy at a time when renewable energy and storage are already cheaper, a trend that is expected to continue. Naperville ratepayers deserve a contract that allows flexibility to take advantage of lower-cost clean energy.

IMEA wants Naperville to sign a new contract by April 2025, but our current contract allows us until September 2030 to provide notice. The longer we wait to decide on our next electricity supplier, the less uncertainty. The less uncertainty, the less risk. Other utilities address uncertainty through regularly updated integrated resource planning, which is absent from the existing and proposed contracts.

It would be fiscally irresponsible to sole-source a $2 billion contract. Due diligence, putting the contract out to bid and public engagement will take time.

Naperville should not be rushed by IMEA’s artificial deadline.

Naperville must also do its part to address the climate crisis. Signing the proposed IMEA contract would put us firmly in the category of environmental laggard. Instead, Naperville can lead in statewide efforts to retire coal. Our community can work together to create a future where low-price, reliable energy is sourced in a sustainable manner.

NEST is a designated task force of the city charged with advising on sustainability issues. We operate independently of the city government, and the views expressed are entirely our own.

Catherine Clarkin, Maureen Stillman, Barbara Benson and Fernando Arriola, NEST

Ellis Island model is the one to follow for new U.S. immigrants

Most of those seeking U.S. asylum have been coming from Central America. We need to reduce the burden this unorderly migration is causing our citizens and on the U.S. economy.

Our forefathers here in America, who conceived the idea of Ellis Island for immigrants, understood how orderly migration is done in a way that benefitted America and those dreaming of being U.S. citizens.

This unprecedented migration burden is due to the lack of creativity on the part of our president and the Congress in negotiating with Mexico to control their Southern border in an orderly manner that mimics the Ellis Island concept. Implementing such a concept at both our southern border as well as Mexico’s southern border will automatically establish migration in an orderly fashion that benefits the migrant as well as the United States citizenry.

Our distinguished leaders need to implement the rule of “KISS” — Keep It Simple, Stupid. I do believe most of our readers are familiar with that rule.

Steven P. Collins, Naperville

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