On January 5, 2006, Governor Blagojevich announced a proposal that would cut mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants by 90 percent by mid-year 2009. The proposed state standards will reduce toxic mercury emissions faster and more thoroughly than new federal restrictions adopted last spring and will achieve the largest overall amount of mercury reduction of any state in the country. The rule will be submitted to the Illinois Pollution Control Board in February.
“Mercury emissions hurt the environment and can cause serious physical harm to children. The new federal mercury regulations don’t go far enough in protecting the public from what we know are very dangerous emissions. That’s why we are proposing much stronger regulations here in Illinois to make sure people can safely enjoy our air and water, and the fish from our rivers and lakes,” said Gov. Blagojevich.
Mercury contamination is a nationwide problem. The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) issued the Clean Air Mercury Rule on March 10, 2005, that required coal-fired power plants to reduce mercury emissions 47 percent by 2010, and 79 percent by 2018. The proposed Illinois rule is significantly stronger, requiring a 90 percent emissions reduction by mid-year 2009, and prohibiting power plants from purchasing allowances, or trading emissions credits with other companies or states.
"The federal rules just don’t go far enough. Illinois' approach is more stringent and effective in that it will require greater reductions, quicker reductions, and guarantee that the emissions are drastically reduced in Illinois," said Doug Scott, Director of the Illinois EPA. Illinois joins half-a-dozen other states that have, or are in the process of, developing emissions standards stricter than the federal guidelines: Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina and Wisconsin.
In May 2005, U.S. EPA issued in final form the Clean Air Interstate Rule or CAIR, to regulate nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions from the eastern region of the United States.
The Illinois EPA intends to follow the "model rule" approach for SO2. However, the Illinois EPA is currently seeking to utilize the flexibility afforded to it by U.S. EPA in proposing alternative methodologies for the allocation of NOx allowances and use of set-asides.
The Agency is conducting a number of outreach meetings as it progresses in drafting the IL mercury rule and CAIR rule. The information provided at these meetings is also being made available here to provide public access to the materials and to encourage comments on the Agency’s draft proposals.
The filed versions of all documents related to the mercury rulemaking may be found on the Illinois Pollution Control Board's website at: Rulemakings Pending Before the Board - In the Matter of: Proposed New 35 Ill. Adm. Code 225 Control of Emissions From Large Combustion Sources (Mercury).
June 8, 2006
March 14, 2006
March 28, 2006 Updates
March 7, 2006 Updates
February 14, 2006 Updates
February 7, 2006 Updates