As 2016 state legislative sessions gear up across the country, including in Illinois, expect new environmental regulations outlined under the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan to be a key issue debated in the nation's state houses this year.
The Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan, finalized in August, looks to slash carbon emissions from existing U.S. power plants. The goal is to reduce carbon emissions from the power sector to 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
States, which are given flexibility to meet the plan's carbon pollution standards, have to submit an implementation plan or request an extension by September.
"There's a range of actions that states will be considering to address the rule, including cap and trade, carbon taxes, renewable portfolio standards, scaling up solar energy use, amongst other things," said Nick Rathod, executive director of the State Innovation Exchange (SiX), a group working with state legislators to advance progressive policies across the country.