Important Environmental Bills Pending this Week in IL General Assembly

Editor’s Note: This message on Memorial Day 2014 is from Jen Walling of the Illinois Environmental Council, a non-profit group focused on monitoring the IL General Assembly and advocating for progressive environmental policy for our state. Please consider contacting your IL representations this week on one or more of these issues, if you are so moved.

I don’t put this lightly when I say that the environment is under assault by the General Assembly this week. There are a seemingly unprecedented number of anti-environment measures up for consideration this week. Here are the biggest threats we face this week and what you can do about them:

  • Gutting of Illinois fracking law.  On Friday, the IEC sent out an action alert on SB649.  Amendments to this bill completely re-write the Illinois fracking law and would end the public process that is already ongoing to write rules for environmental regulations of fracking.  This bill is posted to be heard at 3PM today. Take action here.
  • Funding and Authority for Illiana Tollroad.  The Illiana Tollroad threatens the Midewin Tallgrass National Prairie and is a $250 million bad transportation decision for the state.  Take action with ELPC or Sierra Club to ask your legislators to oppose this “Road to Nowhere.”
  • Oppose New Subsidies to Nuclear Power.  HR1146, a resolution introduced last Friday suggests legislative support for a pathway that would prioritize and subsidize nuclear power.  While it’s a resolution with no binding effect, following this pathway would be diastrous for renewable energy production and energy efficiency and would keep open nuclear power plants even if they were less economically viable than renewables and efficiency.  Take action with our alert to your legislators.
  • Funding for IDNR. Should the General Assembly not approve the tax rate extension, the Department of Natural Resources faces extreme cuts.  Reduction in state police, closure of state parks, and cuts to inspection and enforcement of the areas DNR regulates are all possibilities if the revenue is not in place to fund this agency.  We are watching and working to make sure this agency is funded and support keeping this revenue in place.
  • Climate change.  HR782 would call for delaying or weakening carbon pollution standards that haven’t even been proposed yet.  This bill was held in committee, but the sponsor has filed a motion to discharge the bill and it could be heard on the floor this week.

Expect frequent updates from IEC about the happenings in Springfield and what IL citizens can do about it.

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