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August 7, 2001

Governor Signs Legislation to Address Power Plant Air Pollution

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today signed bi-partisan legislation that will establish a new rule-making process aimed at reducing air pollution from Illinois' power plants. The legislation, which focuses on sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, mercury and green house gasses, is the first multi-pollutant power plant emissions strategy undertaken by a Midwestern state.

"My goal is for all power plants to reduce their emissions to the lowest possible levels consistent with ensuring that Illinois has an affordable, reliable and adequate supply of electricity," Governor Ryan said. "We can reach this goal with a balanced mix of controls and trading programs."

The legislation, SB372, was agreed to by the electric generating industry and environmentalists after extensive negotiations lead by the Governor's office and legislative leaders. The bill would apply to most fossil-fueled power plants.

The key provisions of the rule-making process include:

  • The Illinois EPA will issue findings about the need for reducing power plant emissions by considering health issues, costs, Illinois coal and impacts on the electric system and increased use of renewable sources of energy. The findings will be contained in a report issued between September 30, 2003 and September 30, 2004.

  • The Illinois EPA report will be provided to the House and Senate Environment and Energy Committees. Ninety days after the submission of the report, the Illinois EPA may propose rules to the Illinois Pollution Control Board to implement the report's findings.

  • The Pollution Control Board must act on the proposed rules within one year.

"Air quality in Illinois has improved dramatically in the past three decades, but more still needs to be done," said Tom Skinner, Director of the Illinois EPA. "This legislation provides a strong platform for continued progress."

The bill's sponsors include Senators Christine Radogno (D- LaGrange), Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills), Carol Ronen (D-Chicago), William Mahar (R-Orland Park), and Thomas Walsh (R-LaGrange Park), and Representatives Andrea Moore (R-Libertyville), Brent Hassert (R-Romeoville), Judy Erwin (D-Chicago), Barbara Flynn Curry (D-Chicago), and Rosemary Mulligan (R-Des Plaines).


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