CHICAGO – Illinois Clean Air Now (ICAN), a coalition of clean energy, health advocacy and transportation industry stakeholders today called on Governor Pritzker and the Illinois General Assembly to work together to pass comprehensive electric vehicle (EV) legislation during this year’s spring legislative session.
With a focus on health, environmental and economic benefits, ICAN is gratified to see that a number of clean energy packages have been introduced this year and is optimistic that policymakers will include strong transportation electrification goals and initiatives as key components of emerging new clean energy legislation.
A 2020 American Lung Association assessment of the health benefits of a widespread transition to zero emission cars, buses and trucks found that Illinois could avoid an estimated 18,735 days of missed work, 4,100 asthma-related attacks and approximately 275 premature deaths annually.
“Motor vehicles churn out air pollutants that damage our health and affect nearly every organ system in the body,” said Brian Urbaszewski, director of environmental health at the Respiratory Health Association. “Transportation policies focused on eliminating harmful tailpipe emissions, like the ones under consideration here, can significantly reduce deadly air pollution. Illinois has a historic chance to clean the air we breathe, improve quality of life for communities, reduce health-care burdens across the state and save many lives.”
As Illinois takes steps to rebuild its economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, beneficial electrification has the potential to create direct, indirect and induced economic benefits. Separate projections by both McKinsey and Bloomberg conclude that Illinois EV adoption could result in cumulative net benefits that range from $12 to $45 billion statewide by 2050.
“A vote for clean transportation legislation is a vote to bring jobs to Illinois,” said Megha Lakhchaura, director of policy and utility programs for EVBox, a leading EV charging developer that opened a North America headquarters in Libertyville, creating well over 100 new jobs at the facility. “Companies like EVBox and Rivian have opened locations in Illinois thanks to policies that put the state at the forefront of the clean energy revolution. But the work isn’t done. It’s critical to build on the state’s progress with policies that ensure the grid can support EVs now and in the future.”
ICAN members emphasized that comprehensive EV legislation is an important tool for increasing environmental equity throughout the state, as the health and economic impacts of pollution disproportionally affect low-income and BIPOC communities.
“Illinois has an opportunity to uplift the communities most impacted by harmful emissions with this legislation,” said Larry D. Ivory, president and CEO of the Illinois State Black Chamber of Commerce. “We support policies that maximize equitable access to EVs through rebates for income-eligible Illinoisans and promote the expansion of clean fleet vehicles and public transportation.”
To ensure that Illinois builds on its clean energy advantage with comprehensive EV legislation, ICAN members encouraged the Illinois General Assembly to support the following principles:
- Improve public health with policies focused on reducing mobile source emissions that significantly reduce air pollution, making the air safer to breathe, improving quality of life for communities and reducing economic and healthcare burdens.
- Create jobs and economic opportunity with policies that support a clean energy economy by creating savings for consumers, supporting new jobs and industries across the state and ensuring that low-income and other vulnerable groups benefit from electrification.
- Protect the environment with policies that increase creation and usage of available clean energy to reduce emissions and mitigate the environmental impacts of air pollution.
- Invest in grid infrastructure with policies that support the long-term sustainability of the competitive market.
- Enable a consumer-friendly experience with policies that increase access to charging at home, work, in communities, and along corridors across the state.
“Elected officials in Springfield have a wonderful chance to include comprehensive transportation electrification provisions in a larger energy package,” concluded Phil Jones, executive director of the Alliance for Transportation Electrification. It is urgent that Illinois act decisively now to approve bold and ambitious programs and funding for more EVs and charging infrastructure.”