2/26/16 – Legislators, health officials look at air quality concerns

By WEEK Reporter

February 26, 2016

PEORIA, Ill. – River City residents are saying the state needs to get tough on global warming.

President Obama’s Clean Air Plan, which was approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, is being challenged in court.

It could take a while before a decision is made on the proposal.

Some local clean air supporters say now is a good time for Illinois residents push for an energy bill.
Clean air advocates gathered at Unity House of Prayer Church in Peoria on Friday morning.

They say asthma and other respiratory diseases are hurting residents, especially minorities.

“Latinos, regardless of income, are more likely to live in neighborhoods that are dirty and polluted. Our kids are 60 percent more at risk to have asthma attacks than their white counterparts,” said Edgar Navarrette from Illinois People’s Action.

They say while federal EPA legislation is being challenged in court, Illinois legislators should push for approval of the Illinois Clean Jobs bill.

“That bill would say that we have to get 35 percent of our electricity from clean, renewable sources by 2030,” said Brian Urbaszewski of the Respiratory Health Association. “It would be a big build out of infrastructure for more wind power, for more solar power in Illinois–thing that don’t emit any air pollution.”

Three energy bills have been introduced in Springfield.

Given the current budget impasse, it’s unclear whether or not there will be any discussion of energy bills in the near future.