IEC in the News

IEC regularly works with journalists on stories for print, radio, TV, and internet publications. You can find many of the stories IEC has contributed to on this page.

If you are a reporter pursuing a story related to IEC’s work, or the work of our affiliates, please reach out to Matt Steffen.

Sen. Bill Haine, Rep. Jay Hoffman weigh in on levee deregulation efforts

Alton Telegraph
10/24/17
“This rule change would limit the state’s ability to enforce levee height limits,” Jennifer Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council said. “Without oversight, these levees could increase flooding downstream which will not only harm communities, but devastate riparian natural areas and wildlife habitat.”

Local food boosters lobby for supportive legislation

AgriNews
10/21/17
Through his work with the Illinois Stewardship Alliance, the Illinois Environmental Council and Downtown Springfield Inc., [State Representative Tim Butler] has seen the benefits of local food systems.
“I’ve seen firsthand over the years the impact that local food systems have on the economy, on people’s health and just the good things they offer through the local food system. So, when I got into the legislature, it gave me a good opportunity to dive into some of these issues and help folks out,” he said.

Young Angler Catches Rare American Eel at Chicago River Fishing Event

Chicago Tonight
10/17/17
“While swimming in the river is unthinkable today, it’s important to remember that only a couple decades ago, fishing was not on the menu,” said Jen Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council, in a press release. “This event served as a great reminder of the progress we’ve made, as well as the potential of what the river has to offer.”

Illinois bobcat hunting season could see more permits under law awaiting Rauner’s signature

Tribune
9/18/17
The Bobcat Foundation worked with Illinois state Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, and a number of other groups that were involved in the issue, including the IDNR, Illinois Trappers Association, Illinois Humane Society and Illinois Environmental Council.
The new law would allow 1,000 permits, increasing from the present 500, but would limit the harvest to 350 animals, increasing to 375 animals the following season. It would also suspend hunting in counties where no bobcat was taken the year before, Kuroda said.

Lead-Testing School Water: When Should Parents Worry?

NPR from Illinois State University
9/28/17
“Illinois as a whole has a high number of lead pipes moving water within communities, and the problem has been a concern for decades,” Walling said.
“With the crisis in Flint, there is an increased public awareness of the ability of lead pipes to contribute lead into the drinking water we have,” she said. “There was the public will to really do something about it.”

New state laws support volunteers

Daily Journal Kankakee
9/7/17
“Open space provides real environmental and economic benefits to Illinois’ residents and should remain a consistent priority among decision-makers,” said Jennifer Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council. “Conservation Land Trusts are experienced in managing natural areas, and therefore make an ideal partner for a public-private partnership designed to promote stewardship of natural areas.”

Waiting on VW money

Tribune
6/25/17
“I think this should be started as soon as possible,” said Jen Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council. “I think the sooner the better, the more people who get to participate the better.”

Energy jobs forum set Tuesday at LLCC

State Register Journal
6/21/17
A forum on renewable energy jobs expected from the Illinois Future Energy Jobs Act is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday at the Trutter Center on the campus of Lincoln Land Community College.

Joliet, Plainfield schools to get lead results in coming weeks

Herald-News
6/12/17
In January, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a new law requiring schools and day care facilities to test for lead contamination of potable water in their buildings.
The law was initiated by the Illinois Environmental Council and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, according to her office.

Forum to focus on economic development through renewable energy

The Southern Illinoisan
6/8/17
In January, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a new law requiring schools and day care facilities to test for lead contamination of potable water in their buildings.
The law was initiated by the Illinois Environmental Council and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, according to her office.

Hemp may become newest cash crop

Edwardsville Intelligencer
6/8/17
A bill that passed unanimously in the Illinois Senate, and now goes to the House, would allow the Illinois Department of Agriculture to license farmers to grow industrial hemp.

The Illinois Stewardship Alliance and Illinois Farmers Union initiated this bill, and have collaborated with the Illinois Environmental Council and Illinois Farm Bureau in a coalition of farm and environmental interests to bring hemp back to Illinois.

Protest against Paris Accord withdrawal planned for Trump Tower this afternoon

TimeOut Chicago
6/2/17
An “emergency protest” against President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord will take place in front of Chicago’s Trump International Hotel and Tower. The rally is backed by more than a dozen groups including Indivisible Chicago, the Sierra Club, the Illinois Environmental Council and AFGE Local 704, the union representing employees in the Chicago office of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Legislator: Bill Would Trigger $2.2B in Illinois Wind Energy Projects

Chicago Tonight
5/15/17
The legislation, Senate Bill 71, passed the Senate by a vote of 47 to 3 on April 25 and has moved on to the House. The bill has received support from environmental and labor groups, including the Environmental Law and Policy Center, Illinois Environmental Council, Laborers’ International Union of North America Midwest Region and the Citizens Utility Board.

It’s just a bill

CapitolFax
5/15/17
An Illinois legislator says striking seven words from the state’s massive energy bill would clear the way for more than $2 billion in new wind energy projects.

Bill to revamp Illinois e-waste system moves forward

WasteDIVE
5/15/17
The Electronic Products Recycling and Reuse Act, established in 2008, currently covers 17 types of devices and banned their disposal as of 2012. The Illinois Environmental Council — which supports the amendments to update this plan along with other state environmental groups — reportedly fought to keep all of those devices on the list and expand the number of drop-off sites under the new program.

Bill Aims to Overhaul Illinois’ Electronic Recycling Program

Chicago Tonight
5/11/17
“The current system is broken and legislators have made a sincere effort to work with local governments, recyclers, collectors, manufacturers and environmentalists to try a new approach,” IEC Executive Director Jen Walling said.

Illinois farmers one step closer to industrial hemp

Lincoln Courier
5/8/17
Illinois Stewardship Alliance and Illinois Farmers Union initiated this bill, and have collaborated with the Illinois Environmental Council and Illinois Farm Bureau in a coalition of farm and environmental interests to bring hemp back to Illinois

New ‘Pokémon Go’ Bill Rejected by Illinois Lawmakers

Chicago Tonight
5/2/17
State Rep. Kelly Cassidy of Chicago first proposed the Location-based Video Game Protection Act in August following reports of gamers searching for virtual Pokemon at places like the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., the Auschwitz Memorial in Poland and Japan’s Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.

Study Shows Chicago Plastic Bag Usage Has Dropped Since Bag Tax

CBS Chicago
4/24/17
“It is great news that disposable bag use has declined since the Checkout Bag Tax went into effect,” said Jen Walling, Executive Director of the Illinois Environmental Council, in a statement. “We’ve all seen where disposable bags often end up – wrapped around trees and bushes, in Lake Michigan or the Chicago River, blowing around on windy days. Hopefully the reduction we’ve seen so far is a first step in getting all of these bags out of our environment.”

Study: Disposable Bag Use Down 42 Percent in Wake of Chicago Bag Tax

Chicago Tonight
4/24/17
“We’ve all seen where disposable bags often end up – wrapped around trees and bushes, in Lake Michigan or the Chicago River, blowing around on windy days,” said Jen Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council, in a press release. “Hopefully the reduction we’ve seen so far is a first step in getting all of these bags out of our environment.”

Chicago’s Plastic Bag Tax Is Working — Big Time, Study Shows

DNA Info
4/24/17
Illinois Environmental Council Executive Director Jen Walling said the study proved the tax was working.

Bobcat conservation group continues fight after first Illinois hunt

Tribune
3/29/17
While the Illinois Department of Natural Resources declared it first bobcat hunting season a success after 141 animals were taken from the lower third of the state last fall, groups that oppose the hunt plan to keep the pressure on.

4 new measures would tighten regulation of massive hog confinements

Tribune
3/28/17
After the news conference, Jennifer Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council, an advocacy group, said Koehler is working with a coalition of rural legislators to get the agricultural interests to negotiate.

She called the bills a solid first step. “There’s more we’d like to do, but these are reforms we want to see enacted,” Walling said.

Chicago Lawmaker Proposes Urban Agriculture Zones

Chicago Tonight
3/27/17
The zones would work similarly to Tax Increment Financing districts, which receive subsidies to encourage redevelopment and community-improvement projects in areas in need of revitalization, said Jen Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council, which supports the legislation.

Illinois Lawmaker Wants to Protect Animals from Lead Poisoning

Chicago Tonight
3/22/17
Despite significant efforts to reduce lead exposure from water, paint and other sources, the release of toxic lead into the environment in the form of ammunition is mostly unregulated, according to the Illinois Environmental Council (IEC).

Art, environment and a giant globe draw hundreds to 2017 Going Green Matters fair

Tribune
3/13/17
More than a thousand people visited, volunteered, exhibited and otherwise experienced the 2017 Going Green Matters environmental fair on Sunday, undeterred by cold weather and lured by the possibility of seeing their world from the inside, a fair organizer said Monday.

Guest Column: Illinois ready to lead on clean energy

State Register Journal
3/3/17 by IEC Executive Director Jen Walling
It is no secret that the change in administrations in Washington has brought a major shift in federal environmental policies. President Donald Trump has made clear his intention to roll back key initiatives enacted during the Obama Administration that tackled climate change and promoted clean energy.

Fortunately, in Illinois, we are seeing a much different approach to these issues from both our executive and legislative leaders, who recognize that action to promote clean energy represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to boost our state’s economy.

Moeller Working to Protect Natural Resources by Introducing Milkweed Bills

Tribune
2/17/17
Working alongside the Illinois Environmental Council and the Sierra Club, Moeller has introduced House Bill 685, which would prohibit local governments from fining residents who have milkweed on their property.

Special report: Worries in the water — In wake of crisis, more states look at aging systems’ impact on our health

Journal Courier
2/5/17
“This is the first step in our final goal of a lead-free water system in Illinois,” said Jennifer Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council, which has been pushing a testing bill for months. “The standardization of testing protocols and parental notification of results put Illinois at the forefront of the country in protecting children’s health.”

Chicago to Give Away 25,000 Reusable ‘ChiBags’ for Start of Bag Tax

Chicago Tonight
1/30/17
Representatives from the nonpartisan Illinois Environmental Council will help distribute the free bags this week. The organization started giving out the bags last week during a networking event.

Lead Testing, Energy Jobs Highlight Illinois’ 2016 Environmental Scorecard

Chicago Tonight
1/26/17
For environmental advocates, Illinois ended 2016 with two major victories: the passing of a landmark energy bill and an act requiring schools to test drinking water sources for lead.

But the state saw a number of other environmental initiatives last year, many of which are highlighted in the Illinois Environmental Council’s 2016 Environmental Scorecard.

After Southern Illinois schools test their drinking water for lead, what’s next?

The Southern Illinoisan
1/25/17
Schools built in 2001 and thereafter do not have to be tested at this time. Though, the law allows the Illinois Department of Public Health to write rules for further testing of newer schools, if warranted, based on the test results of the older facilities, said Jennifer Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council.

Chicago Activists Prepare to Defend Environment Under Trump

Chicago Tonight
1/24/17
“Despite what you might be feeling about things at the federal level, things are going in our favor here in Illinois,” said Jen Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council, which organized the meeting.

Rauner signs lead-testing law for schools, day care centers

Tribune
1/16/17
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office and the Illinois Environmental Council pushed for lead testing for months, but Rauner’s administration wasn’t on board until recent negotiations. Earlier versions of the bill required water suppliers to pay for the testing, which experts estimate could run from $500 to $5,000 per facility.

Rauners signs law requiring lead testing of school, day care water

Fox32
1/16/17
“The environmental defense fund estimates that a quarter of all lead pipes in the nation are in Illinois. This is just the first step towards identifying what that risk is,” said Jen Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council.

New Illinois Law Requires Schools to Test Water for Lead

Governing Magazine
1/16/17
Though lead testing cost local school districts thousands of dollars each, superintendents say the efforts were well worth the price — and some schools might already be compliant under the new law. The Illinois Department of Public Health will accept results from tests conducted after 2013, according to Jen Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council.

Lead testing for schools, day cares signed into law

State Register Journal
1/16/17
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office and the Illinois Environmental Council pushed for lead testing for months, but Rauner’s administration wasn’t on board until recent negotiations. Earlier versions of the bill required water suppliers to pay for the testing, which experts estimate could run from $500 to $5,000 per facility.

Rauner signs school, day care lead-testing law

Sun-Times
1/16/17
It follows a crisis in Flint, Michigan, which showed the dangers of lead contamination. And Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan last year called for lead testing in schools after the Illinois Environmental Council found levels of lead in some Chicago and suburban school districts.

Getting the lead out: Law would require schools to test water

Herald & Review
1/12/17
Since last year, her office has called for mandated lead testing in schools with the Illinois Environmental Council, which says there is a lack of information available to parents about water supplies.

Exelon bill supporters point to energy benefits

Herald & Review
1/12/17
At a bill-signing ceremony Wednesday at Clinton High School, Jennifer Walling, the executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council, which represents more than 80 organizations across the state, hailed the new law as “the most significant piece of climate and clean energy policy in Illinois’ history.”

Rauner signs Future Energy Jobs bill

Quad-City Times
1/12/17
“With this legislation, Illinois will now be able to compete head-to-head for clean energy jobs with any other state in the nation — and win,” said Jennifer Walling, Executive Director of the Illinois Environmental Council (IEC), who added “The Future Energy Jobs bill fixes and improves the broken Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), leading to $12 to $15 billion in private investment and the development of at least 3,000 megawatts of new solar and 1,300 MWs of wind energy— enough to power nearly 1 million homes.”

Lisa Madigan: Illinois needs to protect children from lead exposure

State Register Journal
1/12/17
“With this legislation, Illinois will now be able to compete head-to-head for clean energy jobs with any other state in the nation — and win,” said Jennifer Walling, Executive Director of the Illinois Environmental Council (IEC), who added “The Future Energy Jobs bill fixes and improves the broken Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), leading to $12 to $15 billion in private investment and the development of at least 3,000 megawatts of new solar and 1,300 MWs of wind energy— enough to power nearly 1 million homes.”

Partners for Parks and Wildlife

Partners for Parks and Wildlife (PPW) is a grassroots coalition that is dedicated to secure and increase funding for open space and park acquisition, natural area preservation, wildlife habitat protection and recreational opportunities in Illinois.

Learn More About Climate Change

The U.S. EPA’s website on climate change was once a great resource for basic scientific information on the topic and we look forward to the day that it is again. Until then, the City of Chicago is making sure its citizens have access to research and information.

Earthshare


One of the simplest ways to donate to the IEC is by contributing through EarthShare in your workplace charity campaign .