Durbin Statement on Proposed EPA Rule On Greenhouse Gas Emissions

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) released the following statement today following the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s announcement of a proposed rule to establish standards for greenhouse gas emissions emitted by existing power plants. Under the proposed rule, each state’s environmental agency – including the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency – will be called on to develop individual, state-specific implementation plans to ensure clean air targets are met.


“Power plants are the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions, and any meaningful strategy for addressing climate change must include a reduction in their harmful emissions. The proposed rule by the Environmental Protection Agency gives states like Illinois the authority and flexibility to develop a strategy to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, encourage local stakeholders to develop a plan to protect jobs, and provide the next generation a more livable world,” said Durbin. 


The EPA’s proposed rule to reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants will allow states to work individually or regionally to meet specific targets. According to the EPA, the new rule will cut carbon pollution from power plants by 30 percent by 2030 based on 2005 emissions. It will also help reduce smog and soot air pollution – with public health and climate benefits worth an estimated $55 billion to $93 billion per year in 2030. For every dollar invested through the proposed rule, American families will see up to $7 in health benefits and reduced health costs.


“Communities across Illinois are already leading the nation in choosing power that is renewable, affordable, and clean,” said Durbin.  “I will continue to support these efforts and other investments in innovative technologies, such as FutureGen 2.0, that create Illinois jobs now and invest in clean energy sources for the future.”


The FutureGen 2.0 project involves the retrofitting and repowering of Ameren’s idle oil-fired power plant in Meredosia to create the world's first full-scale, oxy-combustion coal-fired plant designed for permanent carbon dioxide capture and storage.  The labor agreement announced earlier this month consists of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the FutureGen Alliance and the leaders of 17 unions that includes three separate project labor agreements for three separate components of the FutureGen project: the power plant itself, the pipeline and storage site for the captured carbon, and an associated visitor and training center.  All three agreements give local unions responsibility for hiring craft labor.  When the supply of local labor is exhausted, the local unions may then reach out to surrounding unions for any additional workers.


In addition to the jobs created by the project’s construction, a recent study by the University of Illinois estimated that the federal government’s $1 billion investment in FutureGen would lead to over $12 billion in economic benefits and create an average of 620 well-paying jobs – 400 of which would be in Jacksonville – for the next 24 years.  The visitor and training center will also help educate and train Jacksonville students in sustainable energy technology.