* No law is perfect, and the new climate/energy law is far from it…
Gov. J.B. Pritzker vows Illinois will help stop — and even reverse — climate change with a new state law that outlaws coal- and gas-fired electricity by 2045.
But the law fails to address the state’s biggest source of climate-changing pollution: coal mining.
During 2020 alone, mostly out-of-state companies that burned Illinois coal released more than 57 million tons of heat-trapping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, according to a Chicago Tribune analysis based on a formula developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
By contrast, the state’s coal and gas plants emitted 46 million tons of CO2 during the year.
* On the other hand…
The result is what proponents call the “most equitable” climate bill passed to date in the United States.
Even some of the core people behind the environmental justice parts of the legislation — which include preferences for minority businesses and hiring, training opportunities for clean energy jobs and grants for community programs — seemed shocked by how much they had achieved.
“No one believed in Illinois we would actually pass legislation that can stop oil and gas facilities from running forever,” says Juliana Pino, policy director of the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization. […]
J.C. Kibbey, Illinois clean energy advocate for Natural Resources Defense Council in Chicago, says more needs to be done and will be done to address climate change.
Still, Kibbey says, “This would’ve been unimaginable even five years ago that we would completely move away from fossil fuels in the power sector. In a state like this, that we got it done, is a testament how the politics has shifted and how quickly the economics of coal has shifted.”