New Illinois Law Allows State To Establish Emissions Restrictions

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Gov. JB Pritzker, D-Ill., has signed into law a bill that repeals the Kyoto Protocol Act of 1998, which has prohibited the state from creating restrictions on greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions.

In 2001, the U.S. withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol, but Illinois was left tied to goals that the federal government no longer intended to meet. After Illinois codified the protocol in state statute, state government has been restricted in enacting more stringent emissions reduction standards.

“We know that Illinoisans are suffering the effects of climate change, and we must act now. That’s why I joined the Climate Alliance in my first days in office and am proud to repeal outdated restrictions on the state’s ability to reduce emissions and tackle the climate crisis,” says Pritzker. “While the federal government unravels the progress made under the Obama administration, Illinois will not stand idly by. We’re stepping up to protect the lives of generations to come.”

H.B.3481, sponsored by State Sen. Laura Ellman, D-Naperville, and State Rep. Robyn Gabel, D-Evanston, goes into effect on Jan. 1.

“By repealing the Kyoto Protocol Act, we’re sending the signal that Illinois is ready to get serious about climate change,” says Ellman. “It’s an outdated law that only served to tie lawmakers’ hands, and it never should’ve been passed in the first place.”

“The world’s scientists are urging immediate action on climate change, but for two decades, Illinois has been locked from reducing these emissions because of an outdated, unfortunate ban on climate action,” adds Gabel. “Governor’s Pritzker’s signature today is an important step toward achieving a 100 percent clean energy future for Illinois and a strong and just climate action plan for our state that protects us all and invests in the clean energy economy.”

Local environmental advocacy groups are also voicing their support for the newly signed measure.

“In 1998, an anti-environment majority restricted Illinois’ ability to tackle air pollution, including carbon emissions. Twenty-one years later, a majority of the Illinois House and now Illinois Senate supports action on climate change and reducing Illinois’ carbon emissions,” comments Jen Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council.

“Today, Illinois takes a first step to being a leader in addressing the climate crisis that threatens all of our communities and achieving Governor Pritzker’s vision of an Illinois powered by 100 percent clean energy built by our union workers,” adds Jack Darin, director of the Sierra Club’s Illinois Chapter. “Scientists are urging bold action, and the economic benefits of clean energy can lift up disadvantaged communities and support a just transition away from fossil fuels. Trump may be taking America backward and out of the clean energy revolution, but today, Illinois goes forward.”

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