Chicago, IL – On the heels of crippling drought, a new report from Environment Illinois Research & Education Center finds that Illinois ranks 7th in the country for most carbon pollution from its power plants, the state’s largest single source of global warming pollution. Scientists predict that extreme weather events will become more frequent and severe for future generations, unless we cut the dangerous carbon pollution fueling the problem.
“America's dirtiest power plants are the elephant in the room when it comes to global warming," said Lisa Nikodem, Campaign Director for Environment Illinois. "If we want a cleaner, safer future for our kids, we can't afford to ignore power plants' overwhelming contribution to global warming. For Illinois, tackling the problem means cleaning up the dirtiest power plants.”
The report, titled, ‘America’s Dirtiest Power Plants,’ comes as the Obama administration readies a new set of rules to tackle global warming. It illustrates the scale of carbon pollution from Illinois’s power sector and ranks Illinois’s biggest carbon polluters.
Key findings from the report include:
• Illinois’s power plants are the 7th most polluting in the country.
• In Illinois, the top five most polluting power plants are Baldwin Energy Complex, Powerton, Joppa Steam, Newton, and Joliet 29
• Illinois’s power plants are its single largest source of carbon pollution - responsible for 41 percent of statewide emissions.
• Dynegy Midwest Generation Inc’s Baldwin Energy Complex is the 24th most carbon-polluting power plant in the nation.
• Illinois’s power plants produce as much carbon each year as 19.6 million cars.
"Climate change is the greatest challenge facing the world, and this report by Environment Illinois reminds us how much work remains here at home," said U.S. House Representative Jan Schakowsky. "The U.S. has an opportunity and a responsibility to be a leader in reducing carbon emissions, and yet our power plants alone emit more than almost any other entire country. We have the technology to reduce harmful emissions, and we can't afford not to act. I look forward to strong rules from the U.S. EPA to limit carbon emissions for new and existing power plants, and I will continue to support the agency in its mission to protect public health and the environment."
This summer, President Obama directed his Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to propose limits on carbon pollution from new and existing power plants, the largest single source of carbon pollution. In a major step, the EPA is expected to propose an updated rule for cutting carbon pollution from new power plants on September 20.
"It is frightening that Illinois is ranked among the dirtiest states when it comes to power plant emissions. These tougher EPA rules for reducing carbon pollution for power plants will allow us to change that. The rules will give us the opportunity to protect and restore our environment for future generations, and turn the clock back on the negative effects of global warming," said State Representative Laura Fine.
Environment Illinois called on state leaders like Senators Durbin and Kirk to join them in supporting limits on power plants’ carbon pollution. “Illinois is the 7th biggest emitter of carbon pollution from the biggest sources, so it’s critical that Senators Durbin and Kirk step up and support action,” said Nikodem.
“Whether we call it global warming or climate change, we know that dirty power plants are a major contributing factor to it and the extremes we are experiencing in weather. Carbon pollution clean up standards for these dirty power plants are needed to help prevent the worst possible effects of global warming,” added State Representative Naomi Jakobsson.