Executive Director
Energy Council


October 26, 2018

Illinois General Assembly
The House Energy and Environment Committees are holding a joint subject matter hearing in Chicago on the Sterigenics Willowbrook Facility Friday (today) at 10am. At this time, the IEPA, USEPA, Sterigenics, Attorney General's Office, and Willowbrook officials and residents are expected to testify.  The Chamber will be submitting written testimony.  As many of you know, the Sterigenics Willowbrook Facility is being investigated for potentially releasing unsafe levels of ethylene oxiode emissions used from sterilizing medical equipment. The investigation is ongoing and the IEPA has requested the company cease operations until the investigation is complete.  
Leader Durkin introduced HB5983 on Wednesday, which allows for ethylene oxide to be used only if the IEPA certifies there is no substitute. Further, it requires the IEPA to immediately reevaluate emissions standards and regulations for ethylene oxide and issue new ones. They would have 30 days to issue that proposal to the Pollution Control Board. The bill would also ban the use of ethylene oxide by January 1, 2022. The hearing is a subject matter on the Willowbrook facility and is not scheduled to hear this bill.
Last week, the House Public Utilities Committee held a hearing to examine the state's response to the US EPA's proposed Affordable Clean Energy rule. The Chamber testified at the hearing along with the Illinois EPA, the Attorney General's Office, Elevate Energy, the Illinois Environmental Council, Sierra Club, and Paul Greenburger, an asthma expert at Northwestern Medical Center. Our testimony focused on the stakeholder process, the need for flexibility, recognizing the trend in greenhouse gas emission reductions based on market forces, and encouraging the state to work together.
The hearing lasted over two hours and was attended primarily by those participating in the hearing. The Illinois EPA testified that the proposed ACE provides a good amount of flexibility to the states and there will be a collaborative effort to implement ACE when the final rule is published. Chairman Thapedi requested that the State submit comments on the draft rule prior to the October 31 st deadline. The rest of the testimony focused on the weakness of the proposed ACE and their preference that the state implement a plan similar to the Clean Power Plan. Many representatives countered the need for baseload generation resources in the near term and countered some of the statistical information shared. A good summary of the hearing from Energywire is here.
Illinois Commerce Commission
The ICC's Notice of Inquiry on electric vehicles closed initial comments on October 23 rd. The Illinois Chamber submitted comments and may respond with reply comments. Those are due November 9 th.

Our comments are brief, but we encouraged the ICC to allow the markets to be the driver of electric vehicles proliferation and requested the ICC look at grid needs from the perspective of neutral technology adoption.  The ICC is looking at this from needing to prepare the grid for EV onboarding as potential challenges could arise with potential increased electrical load.  As noted, we responded that the ICC should not focus on one technology, rather allowing the market to drive adaptation and encouraging the ICC to look at policies that support the grid if increased loads occur or require action, not the technology that increased them.
Members are likely aware of a petition filed by the state of New York under the Clean Air Act, Section 126(b). The Clean Air Act allows states to argue to EPA that the federal agency should set lower emission limits for specific sources in upwind states if that particular downwind state believes those sources are the reason it cannot meet National Ambient Air Quality Standards. Generally, states have filed these petitions on a one-off basis, focusing on one facility (such as a cement manufacturer or coal-fired power plant). 

This past May, New York filed a petition with EPA to enforce lower emission limits against hundreds of oil and gas, power generation and manufacturing facilities in nine upwind states: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. In its petition, the state of New York has asked the USEPA to shut down or impose strict emissions limitations on 346 facilities across these states. The full list of facilities that could be impacted is listed in New York's petition, pages 33-42. Keep scrolling as there are three separate sections.

I am co-chair of the Council of State Chamber Energy and Environmental Committee and we are considering sending comments to the USEPA when they issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on this position opposing the petition. I will circle back with members when that time comes, but wanted to include it now. It is likely this EPA will reject the petition in its NOPR, which is how the IEPA also expects the USEPA to rule.
Last week, the Chamber was asked to participate in the Great Plains Institute Regional Carbon Capture Deployment Initiative. The Initiative brings together states officials with stakeholders to understand and foster commercial deployment of industrial and power plant infrastructure for carbon capture, CO2 pipelines, enhanced oil recovery and beneficial use of CO2. The work group has been developed under the auspices of the State Carbon Capture Work Group convened by the Governors of Wyoming and Montana. While the group has been researching and meeting for some time, this was the first meeting the Chamber was asked to join. It was a great meeting to understand the work of the group and the progress that has been made in this area. The effort is being convened in four stages, with the ultimate goal of supporting to support project deployment and policy development. The next meeting is in January and members are welcome to attend if interested. If anyone is interested to learn more, please let me know.


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