Statehouse
6:34 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

Illinois Takes First Step Toward Drafting Greenhouse Gas Plan

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State regulators are beginning to discuss how Illinois will meet new federal requirements for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

When energy experts say things are going to get complicated: well, that's saying something. That's pretty much how Jim Ross, an air pollution control manager with Illinois' Environmental Protection Agency, summed up his briefing on the new standards.

"It's going to take, at least in my estimation, a massive effort -- many entities working together to come up with the most reasonable state plan that we can develop to get us, to insure, that we meet our targets," Ross said.

The federal EPA set targets for each state; Illinois' is to lower by one third the amount of carbon dioxide power plants emit by the year 2030.

There are various ways to reach that, and as Ross alluded to -- a lot of parties involved with drafting the rules, many of which are at odds with one another: environmental groups looking to increase reliance on renewable energy resources, as well as electric generators -- be it those that own aging coal-fired power plants, or nuclear ones.

Though it backed down, Exelon earlier this year threatened to close some of its nuclear plants. Ross says as Illinois figures out how it will comply with the federally-mandated goal, there's an incentive for Illinois to preserve its nuclear fleet.