ABC 7: Congressman Quigley on Carbon Emissions
The following interview originally aired on ABC 7 on June 2, 2014. A transcript and video of the interview are below. If you have difficulty viewing the video, click here.
Karen Jordan: President Obama is using his executive authority to take a strongest action yet against climate change. He’s sidestepping congress to force a steep cut in carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. Here in Illinois, the nation’s fifth biggest coal producer, the plan is getting both support and pushback.
Reporter: The Obama Administration unveiled a plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 30% by the year 2030.
President Obama: In just the first year these standards go into effect, up to 100,000 asthma attacks and 2,100 heart attacks will be avoided.
Reporter: The proposal sets off a complex process in which the 50 states will each determine how to meet customized targets set by the Environmental Protection Agency and then submit those plans for approval.
Lisa Madigan: It is important that we take serious comprehensive actions to reduce carbon emissions. So I look forward to reviewing the draft guidelines of the federal plan in detail and helping to develop a flexible and effective approach for Illinois.
Reporter: Local politicians and community leaders applaud the plan, saying it will help reverse the harmful effects of climate change. Some elected officials say they are expecting pushback from their colleagues that are saying this is an overreach from the White House.
Rep. Mike Quigley: People say, the President is taking such a bold step; this isn’t something he should do. Let me tell you something, if he doesn’t do it, this House isn’t going to do it.
Reporter: The head of the Illinois Coal Association is panning the plan, saying several of the state’s coal-fired plans would have to undergo costly upgrades to comply with the new rules, which could ultimately raise electricity rates.
Phil Gonet, president of the Illinois Coal Association: The country should not come up with constraints on carbon dioxide emissions until the technology has been developed, proven and deployed; and we are not at that point yet.
Karen Jordan: This afternoon, President Obama pushed back against criticism of his plan, saying that the new standards are going to help us leave our children a safer and more stable world.