Senators Kirk and Durbin Vote to Protect Public Health

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Bruce Ratain

Environment Illinois

Chicago, IL–To the disappointment of major polluters, today the U.S. Senate defeated Kentucky Senator Rand Paul’s bid to allow more soot and smog-forming pollution from power plants (SJ Res 27). Sen. Paul’s legislation would have put 1500 lives at risk every year in IL alone. Illinois’s Senators Kirk and Durbin stood up for public health and voted against this dangerous proposal.

 “Today, the Senate voted to protect Illinoisans’ lives by rejecting more pollution in our air,” said Max Muller, Program Director at Environment Illinois. “Illinoisans can feel proud that Senators Kirk and Durbin sided with the people of Illinois over polluters by rejecting this sweeping assault on our health.”

The defeated legislation sought to block the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recently finalized Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, which requires upwind power plants to reduce soot and smog-forming pollution so people in downwind states can breathe cleaner air. 

Exposure to soot and smog can lead to asthma, heart attacks, and premature death. The legislation was particularly dangerous because it would have barred EPA from ever implementing a similar standard to reduce harmful power plant emissions that cross state borders.

“Today our Senators stood up for Illinoisans’ health and well-being,” said Muller. “We applaud Senators Kirk and Durbin for their votes, and we will be counting on them to continue to vote in favor of clean air and public health in the future.”