The 2018 state legislative session began February, 30th 2018. With the Primary Election scheduled for March 20, session days are light between now and March. With continued threats to the environment coming from the federal level, we will be working harder than ever to defend existing protections and push environmental justice priorities in our 2018 IEC Agenda. Earlier this month, IEC Executive Director Jen Walling spoke to NPR Illinois about this work – listen here.
Throughout session, IEC will keep you updated on important legislative victories, alert you when it is important to contact your legislator and explain complicated legislative procedures. To prepare yourself for session, you can listen to our recent “Civics for Environmentalist” webinar here.
A great way to put your civics training to good use is to attend 2018 Environmental Lobby Day on Thursday, April 26th in Springfield, IL. Sign up here to join on your own. To get a seat on one of the buses heading to Springfield from several locations in Northern IL and Chicagoland, Peoria and Champaign, register here.
We’ll be releasing our full list of bills soon, but the issues below will be at the top of our agenda:
A Just Energy System
In 2018, it’s more important than ever to fight federal rollbacks to environmental laws and any threats to our environment. Yesterday, Governor Rauner referenced the clean energy sections of the Future Energy Jobs Act, but he is also supporting pollution permit rollbacks for Dynegy, the owner of 11 Illinois-based coal plants. Dynegy’s plan would provide them a double bailout in the form of weakened pollution standards and higher rates. In 2018, we’ll need your help to fight these coal subsidies.
Clean Water for All Illinoisans
Last year, IEC worked to require testing the drinking water at all Illinois schools and child care centers for lead. With testing efforts well underway, we now need to figure out how to address the lead service lines that threaten the health of millions of Illinois children. Estimates show that Illinois has 25% of all lead service lines in the nation. Replacement of water infrastructure including lead service lines, drinking water lines, and stormwater management, should be at the top of the Illinois General Assembly’s agenda.
Food Justice and Conservation
Preserving farmland in suburban/rural areas, and opening opportunities to support urban agriculture, will also be high on our agenda in 2018. As part of the Illinois Food Scrap Coalition, IEC encourages food donation and increasing opportunities for food scrap composting.
Finally, IEC will be working to make sure environmental priorities are at the top of the FY19 budget agenda. The Renewable Energy Resources Fund, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Open Space funds, and critical funds for IDNR, IEPA, and IDOA will be at the top of our needs for FY19.