Mark Templeton on Illinois' March Toward Clean Energy

Illinois Issues: State Marches Toward Clean Energy
Jake J. Smith
May 18, 2017

The Waukegan Generating Station, owned by NRG Energy, sits on the Lake Michigan shoreline, just one mile from Ortiz’s home. Three years ago, when Ortiz was diagnosed with asthma (a condition that also affects children in 16 percent of households in Lake County, where the plant is located), she began to suspect that emissions from the plant may have been exacerbating her asthma symptoms.

“Recently our air quality was rated an F because of the pollution, and they’re the biggest polluters,” says Ortiz. She and fellow activists had high hopes that the CPP would change that.

Finalized in October of 2015, the CPP targeted greenhouse gas emissions that emanated from power plants, which account for nearly a third of US emissions nationally, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data. Under the CPP, the U.S. EPA would set carbon dioxide emissions reduction targets for each state. “Each state would then have to come up with a plan that it would propose to U.S. EPA for how it would achieve those emission reductions inside of its state, and U.S. EPA would have to bless or reject it,” says Mark Templeton, director of the Abrams Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Chicago Law School.

Mark N. Templeton