With the addition this week of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s clean energy legislation, a half dozen proposals in Springfield are now aimed at increasing the clean wind and solar power we build and use. Some of these proposals include getting more electric vehicles on the road and more charging stations built. That is critical; transportation emissions are the biggest single driver of global warming in Illinois and the country. Gasoline and diesel fuels are a huge cause of deadly air pollution. Illinois needs to clean up transportation.

Now that the Biden Environmental Protection Agency has restored California’s ability to set tighter car tailpipe emissions standards and accelerate electric vehicle sales, Pritzker ought to partner with a growing number of other states that are also moving in this direction. Fifteen states, most recently including Virginia and Minnesota, have adopted these better health protections.

The governor should also join a coalition of 15 states that have agreed to adopt tougher California standards for new big trucks and to dramatically increase sales of zero emission electric trucks. Imagine silent trucks that don’t pollute our communities. New Jersey started that official process this month. Doing so in Illinois would mean 50% of smaller trucks and 30% of big rigs sold in 2030 would be non-polluting.

Illinois is home to one of the biggest electric vehicle factories in the country. We all need clean air and a less dangerous climate. Our state needs to move towards the solutions. And we need Gov. Pritzker to lead.

Brian P. Urbaszewski
Direct of Environmental Health Programs
Respiratory Health Association