Amid Federal Inaction on Climate Crisis, Gov. Pritzker Signs Legislation Eliminating Barriers to Increased State Action

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Springfield, Ill. — Taking another step forward to combat climate change in Illinois, Governor JB Pritzker signed House Bill 3481 today, repealing the Kyoto Protocol Act of 1998 which limits state action to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
 
“We know that Illinoisans are suffering the effects of climate change, and we must act now. That’s why I joined the Climate Alliance in my first days in office and am proud to repeal outdated restrictions on the state’s ability to reduce emissions and tackle the climate crisis,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “While the federal government unravels the progress made under the Obama administration, Illinois will not stand idly by. We’re stepping up to protect the lives of generations to come.”
 
In 2001, the United States withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol, leaving Illinois tied to goals that the federal government no longer intended to meet. After Illinois codified the protocol in state statute, state government has been restricted in enacting more stringent emissions reduction standards.
 
HB 3481 takes effect on January 1, 2020.
 
“By repealing the Kyoto Protocol Act, we’re sending the signal that Illinois is ready to get serious about climate change,” said Sen. Laura Ellman (D-Naperville). “It’s an outdated law that only served to tie lawmakers’ hands and it never should’ve been passed in the first place.”
 
“The world’s scientists are urging immediate action on climate change, but for two decades Illinois has been locked from reducing these emissions because of an outdated, unfortunate ban on climate action,” said Rep. Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston). “Governor’s Pritzker’s signature today is an important step toward achieving a 100% clean energy future for Illinois and a strong and just climate action plan for our state that protects us all and invests in the clean energy economy.”
 
“I believe that the United States, working with the international community, must aggressively address global climate change. Short of that, it is our local and state governments that must lead the charge in protecting our environment,” said Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky. “I have no doubt that our changing environment is due, in large part, to human activity. I have long supported federal legislation and other initiatives that focus on alternative fuel production, air and water quality improvement and environmental protection for our communities. Repealing this 1998 law now allows our state to forge ahead with vital policies and initiatives that will help protect our environment and preserve our planet.”
 
“In 1998, an anti-environment majority restricted Illinois’ ability to tackle air pollution, including carbon emissions. Twenty one years later, a majority of the Illinois House and now Illinois Senate supports action on climate change and reducing Illinois’ carbon emissions,” said Jen Walling, executive director, Illinois Environmental Council. “This General Assembly along with our pro-climate action governor are set to lead the nation on tackling this issue.”
 
“Today, Illinois takes a first step to being a leader in addressing the climate crisis that threatens all of our communities, and achieving Governor Pritzker’s vision of an Illinois powered by 100% clean energy built by our union workers,” said Jack Darin, Director of the Sierra Club, Illinois Chapter. “Scientists are urging bold action, and the economic benefits of clean energy can lift up disadvantaged communities and support a just transition away from fossil fuels. Trump may be taking America backward and out of the clean energy revolution, but today Illinois goes forward.”

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