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Only Two States Have Passed ‘Right to Garden’ Laws. Will Others Follow?

In 2018, a friend who owned a nearby garden store connected Virgil with a state senator. That introduction planted a seed of an idea: what about a bill at the state level to protect home gardeners in Illinois? To begin exploring that concept, Virgil started working with organizations including the Illinois Environmental Council, the Citizen Advocacy Center, …

Only Two States Have Passed ‘Right to Garden’ Laws. Will Others Follow? Read More »

Climate cash coming to Illinois

“This week President Biden is expected to sign the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which includes an unprecedented $370 billion for climate change mitigation. Why it matters: Much of the climate money is directed at getting folks like us to switch to more sustainable sources of energy for our homes and transportation. When it comes to Illinois-level effects, many details still …

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‘A year head start’: How advocates say Illinois is in a good position for federal climate spending

Rather than each state receiving a formula-driven amount of funds — much like how last year’s major infrastructure law operates — the states that will benefit from the “first come, first served” nature of this legislation are the ones that reach out and apply for grants, participate in programs and take advantage of the tax …

‘A year head start’: How advocates say Illinois is in a good position for federal climate spending Read More »

Greenhouse Rebellion with Brian Gill

Brian is the Federal Policy Director for the Illinois Environmental Council. He’s just the person to talk to about how Illinois might benefit. Before the interview, I shared an update about the Shawnee National Park progress. Also, this show was recorded on the eve of a super moon while the earth was spending faster. It’s …

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What does the Inflation Reduction Act do for Illinois?

This investment is part of the $369 billion in clean energy investments, said Jennifer Walling, executive director at the Illinois Environmental Council. For the state, it could both maintain and attract new workers, she said. “This bill will supercharge what we’ve done to create equitable jobs and tackle the climate crisis here in the state,” …

What does the Inflation Reduction Act do for Illinois? Read More »

Watch IEC Federal Policy Director, Brian Gill, on Chicago Tonight

“Could Indiana’s business loss be Illinois’ gain? Plus, the outgoing local head of the FBI, a local congressman just back from a controversial visit to Taiwan and unpacking the major climate bill passed by the Senate.” Watch the full interview here.

Enact historic bill to fight climate change to benefit America — and Illinois

Last year, Illinois enacted the Climate & Equitable Jobs Act, which set the goal of 100% carbon-free power by 2045 and 100% clean energy by 2050. Because Illinois passed the law last year and has been thinking about it for several years, it has projects on tap that are more than shovel-ready and primed for …

Enact historic bill to fight climate change to benefit America — and Illinois Read More »

IEC Statement in Response to Leader Schumer and Sen. Manchin’s Agreement on Reconciliation Bill with Climate Provisions

CHICAGO – In response to Majority Leader Schumer and Senator Manchin’s announcements of an agreement to add the ‘Inflation Reduction Act of 2022,’ which reportedly will reduce carbon emissions by close to 40 percent by 2030, to the reconciliation bill, the Illinois Environmental Council (IEC) issued the following statement from Executive Director Jen Walling: “We …

IEC Statement in Response to Leader Schumer and Sen. Manchin’s Agreement on Reconciliation Bill with Climate Provisions Read More »

Rescue our beloved and endangered monarch butterflies

“The loss of food sources, the loss of habitat and pesticides are a triple threat for monarchs,” Jennifer Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council, told us. Because Illinois is an important state for migrating monarchs, “Illinois should do more than the federal government,” Walling said. The number of Eastern monarchs, the ones you …

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Chicago Releases First City Plan in More Than 50 Years

Iyana Simba, city programs director with the Illinois Environmental Council was the co-chair of environment, climate and energy for We Will Chicago. She said the plan recognizes a disinvestment in equitable policy and how that translates to health impacts, like the impact of industry and pollution, especially on Black, Latino and low-income communities.  “We really [honed] in …

Chicago Releases First City Plan in More Than 50 Years Read More »

Why state parks will stop offering plastic flatware and cups

Jen Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council, said that though the new law is just one step forward, it’s an important one. “It’s definitely not enough. It’s not the end, but I think it’s a pilot in the most sensitive areas,” Walling said. “Our state parks are where we really don’t want plastic …

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Reaction to SCOTUS EPA Decision

One of the 18 decisions released by the US Supreme Court in June 2022: West Virginia vs. Environmental Protection Agency. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of West Virginia, limiting the EPA of its power to regulate carbon emissions from existing power plants. The ruling raises more questions than answers about the future of the …

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Illinois leads on climate action

“While CEJA shoots for a 46% reduction in statewide emissions from 2005 levels by 2030, the RMI modeling estimates the state is on track to achieve just about 22%. What they’re saying: “The scorecard … reminds us of the importance of emissions limits and holding industry accountable,” Samira Hanessian of the Illinois Environmental Council, which pushed …

Illinois leads on climate action Read More »

EXPLAINER: Why Court’s EPA-Climate Change Ruling Matters

Jeffrey Trevino, an EPA lawyer and Steward of the AFGE Local 704 — that’s the union that represents local EPA Workers; Phillip Braun, a Clinical Professor of Finance at the  Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University; James Taylor, President of the Heartland Institute, and Jennifer Walling, the Executive Director of the Illinois Environmental Council …

EXPLAINER: Why Court’s EPA-Climate Change Ruling Matters Read More »

IEC’s Statement on The Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Decision

IEC stands today in frustration, sadness and solidarity with all Americans who need accessible abortion healthcare. One of the core goals of our work as an organization is to build power for Illinois’ people and environment, however, today’s US Supreme Court decision comes as a clear obstruction to that work. Reproductive Justice, like many other …

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2022 Environmental Scorecard

IEC is back with our 2022 Environmental Scorecard for the Illinois General Assembly. Scores are based on the environmental impact of their voting record over the last legislative session.  We hope this will be a useful resource and allow you to see whether your legislators have used their power in the General Assembly to protect …

2022 Environmental Scorecard Read More »

2022 Legislative Report

The Illinois Environmental Council releases a report on the 2022 legislative session, highlighting some wins as well as the fights we’ll continue to work on in the next one. Click here if the report fails to load.

Chicago Skyline

Why Chicago needs Department of Environment and why we need one now

A decade ago, the City of Chicago under the Emanuel administration dissolved its Department of Environment, leaving a broad range of environmental issues to be dealt with across scattered and, at times, understaffed city departments. It’s long past time to reestablish Chicago’s Department of Environment, read our blog to learn why.

Legislating for Climate Justice Starts With Listening

“Jennifer Walling, Executive Director of the Illinois Environmental Council (IEC), told me that, without any other offer of resources, expecting feedback on a 500-page draft bill was an unrealistic ask. As a result, FEJA did not include potential insights from community members that could have strengthened the equity and justice provisions and ensured programs reached …

Legislating for Climate Justice Starts With Listening Read More »

Bill aims to give communities a voice during EPA permitting process

Lawmakers that are pushing for this bill say it’ll give people more of a say on how facilities are handling pollution in their communities. However, lawmakers that voted against the bill said the new updates could put harsh restrictions on smaller businesses. Ariel Hampton with the Illinois Environmental Council said this legislation would hold facilities …

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Agriculture Lease Agreements with Illinois Department of Natural Resources

In December of 2021, Lindsay Keeney and Eliot Clay of the Illinois Environmental Council (IEC) sat down with Mike Chandler and Bob Caveny of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) to discuss the department’s agriculture lease program. Mike Chandler is the Agricultural Lease Manager for the IDNR and has been with the department for 29 years. Bob Caveny is the Farm Programs Manager and has been with IDNR for 10 years.

Expanding Democracy with Chicago Votes

IEC is joined by Alexandria Boutros of Chicago Votes to discuss the bill SB828 which would restore voting rights to Illinoisans currently incarcerated in Prisons. Watch to learn how allowing voting in Prisons is not only good for all Illinoisans but for our state’s environment as well.

Gong-Gershowitz drug take-back bill passes Illinois House

“Proper disposal of prescription drugs will work to protect Illinois’ wildlife, waterways and drinking water. We are grateful to Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz for her leadership and to the business community for working to reach agreement on this important policy,” Jen Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council, said in the release.” Read the full …

Gong-Gershowitz drug take-back bill passes Illinois House Read More »

2021 LCV National Environmental Scorecard

The Illinois Environmental Council is the state affiliate of the League of Conservation Voters. Each year, LCV releases their National Environmental Scorecard. The Scorecard is the primary yardstick for evaluating the environmental records of every member of Congress. View the scorecard below, en Español, or at scorecard.lcv.org. Click here if scorecard fails to load.

Procurement & Illinois Power Agency

https://youtu.be/89azoPc5kh8 Part of our series of CEJA Implementation Lunch & Learns, this webinar focuses on all things IPA. Co-hosted by IEC and the Clean Jobs Coalition and featuring Melena Hessel of the Environmental Law & Policy Center.

Illinois — a major feeder to the Gulf of Mexico dead zone — falls behind federal goal to reduce phosphorus and nitrogen flowing into its waterways

“By 2025, Illinois aims to reduce nitrogen and nitrate by 15% and phosphorus by 25%, with a goal of greater long-term reductions. Instead, averaged from 2015 to 2019, nitrogen loads increased by 13% compared with a baseline period from 1980 to 1996, and phosphorus loads increased by 35%, according to the latest biennial report on the …

Illinois — a major feeder to the Gulf of Mexico dead zone — falls behind federal goal to reduce phosphorus and nitrogen flowing into its waterways Read More »

BP Agrees to $500K Penalty, Soot Limits at Indiana Refinery

“Environmentalists express ongoing concerns for air pollution in the Chicagoland area. “Chicago Tonight” discusses the environmental impacts of local refineries and more with Jen Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council, and Eric Schaeffer, executive director of the Environmental Integrity Project and a former enforcement director with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (Produced by …

BP Agrees to $500K Penalty, Soot Limits at Indiana Refinery Read More »

Do Illinois’ transportation plans match its climate promises?

Illinois leaders have congratulated themselves on the passage of climate legislation and committed to upholding the promises in the Paris Climate Agreement. However, some are pointing out that Illinois has plans to widen and expand roads, which could encourage more vehicular traffic and increase emissions. We were joined by one such critic from the Urban …

Do Illinois’ transportation plans match its climate promises? Read More »

Governor Pritzker signs electric vehicle legislation

“The Reimagining Electric Vehicles in Illinois Act creates incentives for businesses to build electric cars in the state. Reset asks EV advocates if this law will be implemented equitably. GUESTS: Neda Deylami, electric vehicle advocate Jen Walling, executive director for the Illinois Environmental Council” Listen to the full interview here.

Biden Claims Historic Progress on Climate Efforts at Summit

President Joe Biden argued Tuesday that historic progress on addressing global warming was achieved at the U.N. climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, and expressed optimism for a similar outcome in Washington, where his legislative agenda has been stalled by intra-party disagreements. Speaking in a press conference before boarding Air Force One to return to Washington, …

Biden Claims Historic Progress on Climate Efforts at Summit Read More »

Bell Bowl Prairie saved for now as Rockford airport announces it will revisit expansion plans

Lindsay Keeney, conservation director at the environmental council, said saving the prairie is one step Illinois can take to lead a charge made by President Joe Biden to protect open space and curb climate change under the “America the Beautiful” plan. The plan aims to conserve 30% of U.S. lands and water by 2030. Bell …

Bell Bowl Prairie saved for now as Rockford airport announces it will revisit expansion plans Read More »

Conserving 30×30

https://youtu.be/AvK-0N3M1O8 This Lunch & Learn explores the global 30×30 initiative, and how Illinois can plug in and preserve more of our precious natural spaces.

48 State Legislators Score 100% on Illinois Environmental Council Scorecard

(SPRINGFIELD, IL) – The Illinois Environmental Council (IEC) released its 2021 Legislative Environmental Scorecard today. The scorecard, which is released annually, assigns a percentage score to legislators based on how they voted on bills affecting the environment. This year, 38 state representatives and 10 state senators received 100% scores based on their record on 16 …

48 State Legislators Score 100% on Illinois Environmental Council Scorecard Read More »

2021 Environmental Scorecard

IEC is back with our 2021 Environmental Scorecard for the Illinois General Assembly. Scores are based on the environmental impact of their voting record over the last legislative session.  We hope this will be a useful resource and allow you to see whether your legislators have used their power in the General Assembly to protect …

2021 Environmental Scorecard Read More »

Analysis: Mayor’s 2022 Budget Address

Mayor Lightfoot unveiled her 2022 budget proposal. Check it out to see how and which environmental priorities will be funded next year.

Illinois Environmental Council Celebrates the Passage of the Native Plants Gardens Registry Ordinance

CHICAGO (Sept. 14, 2021) — Today, the Illinois Environmental Council (IEC) issued the following statement on the unanimous passage of the Native Plants Gardens Registry Ordinance (O2021-362) during today’s Chicago City Council meeting: “While Chicago has long emphasized the importance of native plants within their own messaging and institutions, policies in the city have not …

Illinois Environmental Council Celebrates the Passage of the Native Plants Gardens Registry Ordinance Read More »

Transportation Agencies, Budget Allocation & Civics

This Lunch & Learn explores the state of transportation in Illinois and opportunities to clean up our transportation sector. Presenters: Tom Kotarac, Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago Audrey Wennink,  Metropolitan Planning Council Jacky Grimshaw, Center for Neighborhood Technology Mayor Chris Koos of Normal, IL

Statement Celebrating the Committee Passage of the Native Gardens Registry Ordinance

CHICAGO (Sept. 13, 2021) — Today, the Illinois Environmental Council (IEC) issued the following statement on the passage of the Native Plants Gardens Registry Ordinance (O2021-362) during today’s Chicago City Council Committee on Environmental Protection and Energy meeting: “Today, the City moved an important step closer to cultivating native plants and sustainable landscapes for Chicagoans …

Statement Celebrating the Committee Passage of the Native Gardens Registry Ordinance Read More »

Illinois Environmental Council Celebrates Final Passage of Nation-leading Comprehensive and Equitable Climate Legislation in Illinois

SPRINGFIELD, IL (September 13, 2021) – Following is a statement from the Illinois Environmental Council (IEC) Executive Director Jen Walling on today’s historic Senate vote on SB2408, the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act: “This is a story about the power of people and the environmental movement in Illinois standing up to big fossil fuel and …

Illinois Environmental Council Celebrates Final Passage of Nation-leading Comprehensive and Equitable Climate Legislation in Illinois Read More »

Illinois Environmental Council celebrates house passage of Climate and Equitable Jobs Act

Springfield, IL (September 9, 2021) — The Illinois Environmental Council Executive Director Jen Walling issued the following statement on the House passage of the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act SB2408: “We are closer than ever before to passing the nation’s most comprehensive, equitable climate bill. The passage of SB2408 today in the House of Representatives …

Illinois Environmental Council celebrates house passage of Climate and Equitable Jobs Act Read More »

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