Take a Stand Against Coal Plant Pollution

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) is working openly to allow most of Illinois’ remaining coal-fired power plants to nearly double their emissions of lung-damaging air pollution.  Dynegy, an energy company that owns eight coal plants in Illinois, started working behind the scenes with the IEPA over a year ago to weaken existing public health protections from air pollution.

Press conference with clean air activists

Brian Urbaszewski, RHA’s Director of Environmental Health Policy at a press event opposing the ruling.

The IEPA is pushing the Illinois Pollution Control Board (IPCB) to remove existing limits on the pollution emission rates for this fleet of eight coal plants in southern and central Illinois and to instead impose annual caps on how many tons of deadly sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides the plants emit. The proposed rollback would allow Dynegy to keep dirty coal plants open while closing cleaner ones equipped with pollution ‘scrubbers’ and to emit approximately 30,000 more tons of air pollution every year that triggers asthma attacks, emergency department visits, hospitalizations and premature deaths.

RHA has spoken out against these efforts that could drastically increase dangerous air pollution and harm people living with lung disease and will continue to do so.

This month, we joined with our partner organizations to file a motion to stop the hearings on Dynegy’s rollback proposal until Dynegy completes a recent merger with a much larger company.  Texas-based Vistra Energy acquired Dynegy in October 2017 and has not been involved in this rulemaking. We believe this dangerous rollback attempt should be put on hold until the merger is completed and Vistra publicly states whether it, too, wants to double air pollution from these coal plants.

Please join us in asking the IPCB to protect us all and prevent coal power plants from doubling the pollution they put in the air we breathe.

RHA Issues Reports on Clean Energy and Health and Reimbursement for Asthma Services

Last month, RHA released two groundbreaking new reports on lung health. The first discusses Clean Energy and Lung Health. With 2017’s Illinois Future Energy Jobs Act, Illinois is increasing investments in green energy sources, such as wind and solar, as well as energy efficiency initiatives to make better use of existing power. What does this mean for our health? RHA examines how green energy displaces harmful emissions from dirty energy sources, namely coal fired power plants and helps mitigate climate change, which comes with its own set of health concerns. This publication ultimately makes the case that clean, renewable energy isn’t just an environmental issue, but a compelling matter of public health.

In the second, RHA and collaborators at Chicago Asthma Consortium, American Lung Association, and Sinai Urban Health Institute submitted to the Illinois Department of Public Health a report on sustainable financing for in-home asthma interventions in Illinois. There are a number of evidence-based in-home asthma management interventions that are not being widely implemented due to a lack of funding, including reimbursement through Illinois Medicaid. In this report, RHA and its co-authors identify several potential funding mechanisms for in-home asthma management, including: adding Community Health Workers (CHW) as authorized providers; establish a Health Home program through Illinois Medicaid; and amending contracts with Medicaid Managed Care Organization to utilize CHW services.

PROTECT THE ILLINOIS CLEAN AIR LAW

NO ROLLBACKS FOR OUR STATE’S BIGGEST POLLUTER!

Governor Rauner’s EPA is poised to eliminate air pollution safeguards that would allow THOUSANDS MORE TONS of air pollution into the air you breathe every year.

According to today’s Chicago Tribune, Illinois EPA and the state’s largest polluter, Dynegy. Inc. have been rewriting Illinois air pollution laws in secret since last year, and are now poised to propose a massive increase in how much pollution Dynegy’s EIGHT huge ancient coal power plants in Illinois would be able to emit.

HOW MUCH?

As much as 10,000 TONS more smog and soot pollution than they are emitting now.

WHEN?

As early as NEXT YEAR.

WHY?

The most likely reason is that Dynegy wants to run its cleanest coal plants – the ones equipped with modern pollution scrubbing equipment – LESS often, and wants to run its dirtiest most polluting coal power plants MORE. They could make more money by running their cheaper dirtier power plants, but YOU will wind up paying the price.

Whatever rollbacks the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and Dynegy are able to force through will eventually have to get approval from state legislators before Dynegy would be allowed to run its dirtiest coal power plants more oftern – so YOUR legislators can help stop this attack on clean air.

You can take action! RHA has prepared an email that encourages legislators not to approve these rollbacks. Our e-advocacy system makes it easy for you to send the email directly to Governor Rauner and your legislators. Send your emails now.

For more information about RHA’s clean air initiatives, contact Brian Urbaszewski via email at burbaszewski@lungchicago.org or by phone at (312) 628-0245.