During tele-conference Thursday, AG Madigan explains why federal standard should survive challenge— and Illinois Sierra Club calls for quick action by Gov. Rauner
CHICAGO –(ENEWSPF)–February 26, 2016. Nearly 2,100 people from around Illinois heard Attorney General Lisa Madigan clarify why new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) clean air goals stand on solid legal ground, while environmental and faith-based advocates stressed the urgency of Illinois moving forward to capture the benefits of state and federal clean energy proposals, even while the issue makes its way through the courts.
Demonstrating strong support for quick action on clean energy, thousands of people took part in a tele-conference sponsored by Sierra Club of Illinois. During the call, Attorney General Madigan said the EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) should survive a legal challenge brought by opponents because the courts have ruled on the EPA’s power before. After the U.S. Supreme Court issued a temporary stay of the CPP in January, Madigan joined attorneys general from more than a dozen states stating that the rules should remain in place.
“The Clean Power Plan is legally justified and absolutely critical to our efforts to fight harmful carbon pollution. I will continue to work with the coalition of states and local governments to vigorously defend the Clean Power Plan, which is essential to ensuring that necessary progress is made in confronting climate change,” said Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
In August, when the Clean Power Plan was finalized, Attorney General Madigan joined members of the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition calling for the state to move forward to capture the environmental and economic benefits of the new plan.
In the nearly eight months since then, while governors from both parties around the country have taken steps to move forward on the CPP in their own states, Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration has not made any announcement about Illinois’ intentions.
Jack Darin, Director of the Illinois Chapter of the Sierra Club, urged Gov. Rauner to not delay any further.
“We urge Gov. Rauner and the Illinois EPA to do what dozens of states have already done: begin a stakeholder process that keeps Illinois from falling further behind other states in growing a strong clean energy economy. While the court deliberates, Illinois can’t wait any longer to bring the benefits of clean energy to our communities. Nor does the Court’s ruling diminish the urgent calls by the world’s leading scientists to reduce carbon pollution and switch to clean energy,” said Jack Darin, Director of the Illinois Chapter of the Sierra Club.
New data released by the Solar Foundation showed that Illinois dropped two places in solar jobs in 2015, from 12th to 14th nationwide. Illinois lost more than 300 solar jobs over the year, while Michigan added nearly 700 solar jobs and Ohio added more than 500 jobs. New York, which fixed its Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) in 2012, grew more than 1,000 solar jobs. Experts say Illinois’ out-of-date RPS blocks the type of investment that the state needs to compete.
“The time to act is now, because the rest of the country isn’t standing idly by– they are taking the initiative and building a clean energy economy while Illinois delays,” Darin added.
“As people of faith, we realize that we have a sacred duty to be good stewards of the planet and to care for our brothers and sisters in need, who are often the people most impacted by air pollution and climate change,” said Pastor Booker Steven Vance of Faith in Place. “The President’s Clean Power Plan would mean better health for all and economic opportunities for all communities across Illinois—but, only if we act.”
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