2017-07-18 CPLC Press Release

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Clean Power Lake County Issues Statement on Waukegan City Council’s Adoption of Paris Climate Agreement

Announcement Applauded by Advocates Calling for Coal-to-Clean Energy Plan for Waukegan

WAUKEGAN, ILLINOIS (July 18, 2017)—The Waukegan City Council yesterday approved a resolution committing the City of Waukegan to adopt the Paris Climate Agreement goals and authorizing Mayor Sam Cunningham to join the Compact of Mayors.

The Paris Agreement, a historic international climate accord that entered into force on November 4, 2016, has been signed by every nation on earth except war-torn Syria and Nicaragua. (Nicaragua would like the agreement to be even stronger.) The City of Waukegan’s decision comes just over a month after President Donald Trump announced that the United States would exit the Paris Agreement.

Waukegan now joins 357 cities that have also committed to upholding the Paris goals and reducing carbon pollution locally.

Waukegan is the only city in Illinois with an active coal plant to sign on to the agreement. The coal plant is owned by New Jersey-based NRG Energy and is the largest point source of carbon dioxide emissions in Lake County, according to the EPA.

Reducing carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants, which are responsible for one-third of U.S. carbon emissions, was President Obama’s signature policy within the Clean Power Plan to meet reduction targets under the Paris Agreement. In March of this year, President Trump issued an executive order to dismantle the Clean Power Plan rule.

In response to the Waukegan City Council news, representatives from the Clean Power Lake County campaign released the following statements:

Rev. Eileen Shanley-Roberts, Co-Chair of the Clean Power Lake County Campaign:
“Clean Power Lake County and our partners look forward to working with Mayor Cunningham and City Council in developing a climate action plan that moves Waukegan beyond our legacy of pollution and position our city as a clean energy leader. This work lies hand-in-hand with the mayor’s goal to revitalize our lakefront and local economy and we encourage City Hall to not waste any time in getting started.”

Julio Guzman, Campaign Representative for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign:
“Sierra Club applauds Mayor Cunningham and the City of Waukegan for their commitment to climate leadership at this critical moment in our country’s history. We look forward to working with Mayor Cunningham in developing a strong and just plan to reduce carbon pollution and bring new clean energy investments and jobs to Waukegan. After years of community members speaking out on climate change and urging Waukegan to move beyond coal, this marks an important step forward in charting a new course on environmental leadership for our city.”

About the Clean Power Lake County Campaign

The Clean Power Lake County Campaign aims to bring community members together to build a just future based on clean air, clean water, and a revitalized lakefront in Lake County. The coalition consists of Christ Episcopal Church of Waukegan, Environmental Law & Policy Center, the Exchange Club of North Chicago, Faith in Place, Father Gary Graf Center, Lake County Bike Project, League of Women Voters-Lake County, Midwest Sustainability Group, Moms Clean Air Force-Illinois, Most Blessed Trinity Parish of Waukegan, NAACP-Lake County Branch, Organizing for Action-Lake/McHenry Chapter, Respiratory Health Association, Sierra Club Woods & Wetlands Group, and Waukegan Community Church.