IEC Legislative Update

2024 Environmental Legislative Update

We’re officially picking up steam in the State Capitol! Legislators are getting to business this session, and pieces of the Illinois Environmental Legislative Agenda are starting to move through the legislative process. We made great strides on a few key bills this week and celebrated Soil Health Week, including an amazing Soil Health Lobby Day on March 6.

Protecting Illinois’ Wetlands
Protecting wetlands is a top priority for IEC and our partners this year. The U.S. Supreme Court recently gutted wetlands protections under the federal Clean Water Act, leaving Illinois wetlands vulnerable to developer bulldozers without legislative intervention. 

This week, Sen. Laura Ellman’s SB 3669 passed out of committee with a vote of 6 to 3 and the support of over 1,000 people who signed witness slips and contacted their lawmakers. This bill will ensure that wetlands are safeguarded even in the face of federal regulatory uncertainty. We helped organize a smashing press conference at the Capitol and generated plenty of great press coverage for this effort. Read the Chicago Tribune article here.

Progress on PFAs
PFAs, an acronym for a group of toxic chemicals called “per and poly fluoro alkyl substances,” are also known as “forever chemicals.” IEC worked with our partners to introduce several bills to address the rising health concerns of these chemicals. This week, Rep. Anna Moeller passed HB 4627 out of committee, a bill that mirrors language from other states like Minnesota and Maine to create a registry for products with intentionally added PFAS. IEC’s Ariel Hampton testified in support of the legislation.

Ariel Testifying on PFAS

Growing Our Local Food Systems
Illinois is renowned for our rich agricultural lands, yet our state imports 95% of our food. Our reliance on a global and corporate-controlled food supply undermines sustainable family farmers in our state and threatens our food security. A Local Food Infrastructure Grant Program (SB 3077) will invest in critical infrastructure to scale up the processing, aggregation, and distribution of local food to meet the needs of Illinois communities. Another grant program (SB 3219) will assist with upgrading equipment in farmer-owned grocery stores and markets. Both bills passed out of committee with unanimous bipartisan support.

Reducing Single-Use Plastics
Small single-use bottles of personal care products that many hotels offer to their guests result in millions of plastic containers thrown away each year. To reduce this level of waste, hotels should prioritize using refillable containers and only offer these travel-size items upon request. We are working with Sen. Laura Fine on legislation to address this issue. Her SB 2960 passed out of committee, getting us one step closer to less plastic pollution in our state.

Healthy Soils for Generations to Come: Soil Health Lobby Day
A couple of hundred concerned Illinoisans traveled to the State Capitol to speak with legislators about the importance of passing legislation that will help make our soil healthier and more resilient to extreme weather driven by climate change.

Special shout out to our partners at the Illinois Stewardship Alliance for all of their work on this successful event.

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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