Illinois state senator: Exelon should pay town impact fee for waste

State Sen. Melinda Bush (D-IL)
State Sen. Melinda Bush (D-IL) | Contributed photo
State Sen. Melinda Bush (D-IL) said on Friday that Exelon should pay an impact fee to the City of Zion for nuclear waste stored at its decommissioned power plant there.

Exelon shuttered the Zion facility in 1998, and the plant is now in the process of being decommissioned. The plant’s closing resulted in Zion losing more than half of the city’s property tax revenue, a deficit it has been unable to offset with higher taxes.

“Cities should have the power to collect an impact fee if a company stores its nuclear waste in their community,” Bush said. “Zion was a partner in welcoming the nuclear plant, but now that the plant and the jobs are gone, the utility company needs to be a good neighbor and a positive force in the community. I want to give local governments the ability to hold companies accountable for the impact of leaving nuclear waste behind.”

Property values are at a historic low in Zion, and the city’s inability to develop prime lakefront real estate has hampered its economic recovery, Chris Clark, superintendent of the Zion-Benton Township High School District, said.

“A nuclear disposal impact fee will help to offset the impact to the residents and businesses and help to repair the damage done to the area,” David Knabel, the city's chief financial officer, said.

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