Mayors of Chicago, Highland Park, Elgin, Evanston and Skokie signed a letter to EPA Chief Scott Pruitt, asking him to keep the Clean Power Plan in place. (whitehouse.gov)
Effingham, Ill. (Springfield, Ill.) – Despite the listening sessions being held across the nation about whether to roll back the Clean Power Plan, environmental groups don’t have a lot of hope that EPA Chief Scott Pruitt will keep it in place.
The Clean Power Plan took effect in 2015, aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. Pruitt has said the plan “weaponized” the agency against oil, gas and coal production, in favor of clean energy.
But Abe Scarr, state director with Environment Illinois, calls the rollback “an all-out assault on the environment.” Scarr adds he’s disappointed the EPA didn’t schedule a public hearing in this state.
“On the flip side, creating this plan took several years of work and lots of public input,” says Scarr. “We’re always troubled when a government agency takes a major action without giving the public adequate time to participate. Typically, that’s because they know the public doesn’t support them.”
The next listening session is Tuesday in Gillette, Wyoming. People can also submit comments to the federal government through April 26th.
Scarr says the Clean Power Plan would curb carbon pollution by 32 percent by 2030, and boost the clean energy transition to wind and solar. He says if the Trump administration eliminates it, it will be up to the states to make sure protections are in place.
He says Illinois has already begun the process.
“A little over a year ago, Illinois passed a real sweeping energy bill, the Future Energy Jobs Act, which will greatly increase our reliance on renewable energy here in the state, and reduce carbon emissions,” he says. “And there’s more we can do here in Illinois.”
Last month, 236 mayors across the country – including five from Illinois – sent a letter to Pruitt. They cited an EPA study that said tens of thousands of deaths could occur in the United States if global warming isn’t held to 2 degrees Celsius, which is the international climate goal that the Clean Power Plan would help to achieve.
Via Veronica Carter; Public News Service, Illinois