Finalization of the U.S. Clean Power Plan & Support of IL Clean Jobs Act

Posted: 8/3/2015

From: Joel J. Africk, President and Chief Executive Officer, Respiratory Health Association

Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized the Clean Power Plan, which will require huge reductions in greenhouse gases from hundreds of coal-fired power plants across the country in order to cut emissions driving global warming.

The Clean Power Plan is the largest, most in-depth action the U.S. has ever taken towards curbing climate change. The rule requires a 32 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from existing coal-fired power plants based on 2005 levels by 2030, as well as requires states to draw at least 28 percent of their power from renewable sources. We applaud the EPA?s release of this live-saving rule, said Joel Africk, president and chief executive officer of Respiratory Health Association. This is crucial step towards improving our air quality and curbing global warming.

The Clean Power Plan heralds great benefits for lung health. Preliminary estimates from Harvard University indicate that the health co-benefits of the preliminary power plant rule proposal issued in 2014 would include the prevention of 2,100 premature deaths, 760 hospitalizations, and 160 heart attacks between 2020-2030 in Illinois alone.

With the release of the federal Clean Power Plan, the Rauner administration in Illinois must now formulate a clean energy plan for Illinois that complies with the federal rule. ?This is a tremendous opportunity for the State of Illinois, Africk said. Done the right way, an Illinois Clean Power Plan will bring immediate and long term public health benefits, protect consumers through lower power bills and create thousands of green jobs.

There is already significant support for moving Illinois towards cleaner energy. The Illinois Clean Jobs Act now pending in the General Assembly would ensure significant reductions in greenhouse gasses through increasing energy efficiency goals and by ensuring that Illinois gets 35 percent of its electricity from clean, renewable sources by 2030. In Springfield, this legislative proposal has garnered over 80 House and Senate co-sponsors thus far.

Respiratory Health Association looks forward to working with Illinois officials to maximize the health benefits that can be achieved through cleaning up the power sector, so that families living with lung disease can breathe easier.