IEC Legislative Update

2024 Environmental Legislative Update

Today is the scheduled adjournment day of the regular legislative session. However, as of this morning, it became clear that leading members of the House and Senate are planning for state budget-centered discussions to carry on this evening and into the weekend. We are also seeing an increase in internal caucus meetings, which are causing some delays. Despite these issues, we were successful in advancing some important pieces of the Illinois Environmental Legislative Agenda through the legislative process this week.

Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS)

Because of Illinois’ unique geology and an influx of federal tax incentives, fossil fuel companies are rushing to propose and construct CCS projects across Illinois. CCS is the process by which heavily polluting facilities attempt to capture their carbon emissions and either inject that captured carbon into the ground or use it in industrial processes. In some cases, high-pressure liquified carbon dioxide captured from polluting facilities is transported via pipelines to injection sites.

Anticipating the rush to ignore safety concerns in pursuit of projects that crisscross the state, IEC and our partners at the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition and Sierra Club Illinois have been working to pass a policy solution that protects our environment and our communities from the dangers of this technology.

In the final days of session, negotiations on CCS legislation heated up, and we were able to confidently push forward legislation that will provide essential guardrails that protect our air, water, climate, and communities from the risks associated with each stage of CCS. SB1289 (House Amendment 3) protects landowners and ensures true emission reductions.

Without legislation regulating this emerging industry, Illinois is woefully unprotected and unprepared for industry’s rush to make our state a disposal site for waste produced during the CCS process.

If you have not done so already, please take two minutes to fill out the form letting your legislators know that Illinois must pass critical guardrails before any CCS projects move forward.

The amended bill passed out of the House Energy & Environment Committee this afternoon with 21 legislators voting in support. Next stop: the full House.

Over 18,000 Actions for Illinois Wetlands Protections

This week, IEC led an exciting action with the Protect Illinois Waters coalition, a group of 37 organizations, working to pass legislation protecting vulnerable Illinois wetlands. We delivered over 18,000 individual actions to legislators from concerned Illinoisans across the state and drove hundreds of phone calls into their offices in support!

Wetlands are a vital part of Illinois’ ecosystem. They provide natural flood control, improve water quality, support soil health for agriculture, and preserve endangered wildlife and plant species. While this legislation may not pass during this legislative session, we are fully committed to this fight. It’ll be a priority until we get it passed.

Large Event Recycling & Composting

Many large events like sports stadiums often do not have recycling and composting despite quickly producing significant amounts of waste. Sports venues, festivals, etc., tend to be large events where a lot of waste is created rapidly, and a significant portion of what ends up in the trash is either recyclable (cans, glass bottles, etc.) or compostable (certain food waste, for example). Rep. Curtis Tarver’s SB2876, which passed out of the House and Senate, would require large event facilities (with legal occupancies of at least 3,500 people) to provide recycling and composting bins. The bill is headed to the Governor’s desk.

Reducing Single-Use Plastics in Illinois Hotels

Rep. Kam Buckner’s SB2960 would require hotels to use refillable toiletry bottles instead of repeatedly providing new mini toiletry bottles in guest rooms. This bill passed out of the House and Senate and is headed to the Governor’s desk.

Forests, Wetlands, & Prairies

This week, Rep. Hoan Huynh passed SB2781 out of the House on a vote of 86-22-0. This bill is on its way to the Governor’s desk! This legislation creates a new fund administered by the Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) to assist local governments and nonprofits in restoring degraded forests, wetlands, and prairies. Although subject to appropriation, a previous subject matter hearing on the companion funding bill, SB2782, was received positively in committee and is likely being considered in the FY25 budget.

Reducing Outdoor Lighting Pollution

Rep. Terra Costa Howard successfully passed SB3501 out of the House on a vote of 71-39, and this bill is headed to the Governor’s desk. It would require lighting installed on IDNR property after January 1, 2025, to meet compliance with International Dark Sky standards, meaning they would have minimal impacts on light pollution. While this does benefit those wishing to clearly see the night sky, it also has benefits for wildlife and plant species which biologically depend on the night/day cycle. With Illinois in the Mississippi River Flyway this is crucially important as multiple bird species fly at night and often use open spaces in Illinois to rest on their journeys. 

Climate Change Education

Students and their teachers continue to play a role at the State Capitol. While our current educational requirements include education on climate change issues, it is essential that teachers have the materials to teach the curriculum effectively. Sen. Adriane Johnson passed HB4895 out of the Senate this week, and it is headed to the Governor!

Check out coverage of this exciting win from this week on WAND!

Old Capitol Farmer’s Market Tour

This week, we also held our annual legislative tour of the Springfield Old Capitol Farmers’ Market. IEC was joined by Reps Hirschauer, Yang Rohr, Cassidy, and Harper as well as Senator Fine. We discussed the value of robust local food systems as a nature-based solution, the importance of farmers markets as an incubator for small businesses, and the value of the SNAP program at the market. We are concerned about the recent house version of the federal Farm Bill that drastically cuts conservation programs and SNAP benefits, and we discussed ways to organize advocates to show our support for these programs.

The Old Capitol Farmer’s Market also celebrated its 25th anniversary last Saturday. IEC’s Rural Affairs Director Chad Wallace joined Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton, Alderperson Lakeisha Purchase, and others for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

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IEC Legislative Updates

2024 Environmental Legislative Update

Today is the scheduled adjournment day of the regular legislative session. However, as of this morning, it became clear that leading members of the House