President Obama is expected to announce new regulations on coal power plants today. Those new rules would aim to cut carbon emissions by 20 percent by setting a national limit on pollution from existing coal-fueled plants.
Doug Scott, chairman of the Illinois Commerce Commission, says Illinois and other states will be allowed to come up with the most cost-effective plan on how to accomplish that goal. “We believe in the clean energy economy that’s been built in Illinois over the last several years,”Scott said, “but we’re also very mindful of where our power comes from right now.”
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The regulations wouldn’t become final at the federal level until next year, with the states getting an additional year to implement their plans.
The rules may be challenged in court in the meantime, but Jenny Cassell, staff attorney for the Environmental Law and Policy Center in Chicago, doesn’t believe those challenges would be successful.
“Environmental Protection Agency is sitting fairly pretty right now,” Cassel said. “They’ve had a number of recent cases in which the Supreme Court has given them strong deference as to their interpretation as to how the Clean Air Act should be implemented.”
Illinois ranks among the top 10 states for both coal production and carbon emissions from coal-fueled power plants.