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VA law prevents utility shutoffs in extreme circumstances; MI construction industry responds to a high number of worker suicides; 500,000 still without power or water in the Houston area; KY experts: Children, and babies at higher risk for heat illness.

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The House passes the SAVE Act, but fails to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in inherent contempt of Congress, and a proposed federal budget could doom much-needed public services.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

Study: Big Savings for IL Building Owners from Clean Power Plan

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Wednesday, August 3, 2016   

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Chicago is one of the world's most iconic city skylines, but a new report shows Illinois could do more to make those towering commercial buildings more eco-friendly - and save money in the process.

New research from Georgia Tech's School of Public Policy estimated Illinois commercial building owners could save more than $100 million a year in power costs by 2030 if the state adopted President Obama's Clean Power Plan, or CPP.

The EPA will hold a hearing Wednesday in Chicago about bringing parts of the plan to low-income communities. Kelly Nichols with Moms Clean Air Force of Illinois said her group will testify in support.

"I think that's an amazing resource to have for communities that are bearing the brunt of pollution, and also don't have the same kinds of resources as other communities,” Nichols said. "It's very difficult to get solar panels on top of an apartment building, and this kind of a program makes it easier and more accessible."

According to the study, if Illinois apartment owners are able to adopt some of the CPP ideas - like installing rooftop solar systems - they could save more than $8 million a year.

Report author Dr. Marilyn Brown of Georgia Tech said the CPP goals would help reduce costs and pollution by setting federal limits on carbon emissions from power plants. She said that commercial buildings end up being responsible for about one-third of the carbon emissions from producing electricity.

"Most electricity is used to heat and cool and light buildings,” Brown said, "and about half of that building's electricity goes to businesses. So, it's a really important source for climate mitigation, CO2 emission reductions. "

The CPP is on hold while it is challenged in the U.S. Supreme Court by 24 states; Illinois is not among them. Opponents of the plan argue that the EPA overstepped its authority by requiring a one-third cut in carbon emissions by 2030.



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