SPRINGFIELD - State Rep. Brandon Phelps' (D-Harrisburg) resolution passed the Illinois House Friday, calling for the Obama Administration to allow Illinois to set its own time table developing energy standards. The state's abundance of coal and dependence on coal makes Illinois unique, and the state should be allowed to move into renewable energy sources at a different rate than other states, the lawmaker said.
The Obama Administration's Environmental Protection Agency is expected to roll out higher standards next week for carbon emissions that coal companies say could shut down some of Illinois Downstate facilities.
Phelps was forced to push for the resolution to be discharged from the House Environment Committee because his Democrat colleagues would not allow it to be heard.
State Rep. Ann Williams (D-Chicago) blasted the resolution as a work of the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative think tank, and called for a "no" vote, saying Obama's home state should not balk at the president's efforts to protect the climate.
"These restrictions that are coming will drive coal companies out of business," said Republican House member Ed Sullivan (R-Mundelien). He said shutting down coal businesses in Illinois will cause power bills to skyrocket.
One Downstate lawmaker after another called for support of the resolution during debate.
Part of the discussion - HR 782
The resolution asks
- That the Environmental Protection Agency should issue guidelines and approve state-established performance standards that are based on reductions of carbon dioxide power plants;
- That the Environmental Protection Agency should allow Illinois and other states to set less stringent performance standards or longer compliance schedules for power plants within their jurisdiction;
- That Illinois and other states should be given maximum flexibility by the Environmental Protection Agency to implement carbon dioxide performance standards for fossil-fueled power plants within their jurisdiction
The measure passed the House with a 66-36 - 2 present vote. The full text of HR 782 is HERE. The co-sponsors are: Rep. Brandon W. Phelps - Mike Bost - Brad E. Halbrook - Patrick J. Verschoore - Daniel V. Beiser,Jerry F. Costello, II, Jay Hoffman, Raymond Poe, Chad Hays, Rich Brauer, John D. Cavaletto, Jil Tracy, Norine Hammond, David R. Leitch, Bill Mitchell, David Reis, C.D. Davidsmeyer, Ed Sullivan, Jr.,Kenneth Dunkin, Dwight Kay, John D. Anthony, Adam Brown, David McSweeney, Mike Smiddy,Dennis M. Reboletti and Wayne Rosenthal