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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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 »

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,

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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2020 Annual Report

2020 Annual Report Introduction 2021 Policy Platform Board & Staff Highlights Finances Donors From the Executive Director Dear Supporter, I’m sure you’ve heard this a hundred times before, but 2020 was indeed a year like no other. For an organization like IEC that thrives on the pace of Illinois’ General Assembly and scoring big policy

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Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker Signs Bill to Replace Toxic Lead Service Lines

New law requires replacement of lead lines, prompts calls for federal funds from Congress CHICAGO (August 30, 2021) – Gov. JB Pritzker signed into law the Lead Service Line Replacement and Notification Act, making Illinois the third state in the nation to require full replacement of lead drinking water pipes, which can deliver toxic lead

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Getting the lead out? New state law requires water suppliers to submit plans to remove lead service lines

Not only does Illinois have one-eighth of the lead service lines in the country, but 300,000 to 500,000 of them are in Chicago, according to the Illinois Environmental Council. “Although this is a statewide problem, we know that this toxic infrastructure disproportionately affects Illinois’ people of color,” Robinson said. “Everyone deserves to have clean drinking

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New Law Protects Illinois Homeowners’ Access to Solar

“The benefits of this legislation go far beyond any single rooftop,” states Colleen Smith, deputy director of the Illinois Environmental Council. “We can make meaningful progress on carbon reduction and reaching our climate goals by getting everyone involved, and breaking down barriers to solar will lead to cleaner air, healthier residents and more vibrant local economies.”

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New Law Will Preserve Homeowners’ Solar Rights

Gov. Pritzker’s signature provides needed protections against solar access restrictions. SPRINGFIELD, IL (July 28, 2021) — Gov. JB Pritzker signed legislation protecting Illinoisans’ right to clean energy and access to solar power. A revision to the Homeowners’ Energy Policy Statement Act, HB 644 will guarantee homeowners’ rights to place solar on their home without major

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Northbrook board takes further steps toward sustainability

“Northbrook resident Rod Burton, professor emeritus of aerospace engineering at the University of Illinois, said there was no mention of nuclear power, a fuel source he said provides 66% of electricity in Illinois, with sustainable sources contributing 17%. (The Illinois Environmental Council said as of March 2019 Illinois nuclear comprised a national high of 54%, 10% renewable

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IEC Summer 2021 Newsletter

It’s been a busy year for team IEC, so we’ve put together a quick roundup of some of the work that we’ve been doing so far in Springfield, Chicago and now at the federal level in D.C. too! Check out some of our recent wins, and the ongoing work we’re engaged in building power for

IEC Summer 2021 Newsletter Read More »

From Pandemic Stress Baking To Profits: New Illinois Law Eases Restrictions For Home Bakers

“’Greenhouse gas emissions in Illinois is from transportation. And the distance between where food is grown, and where it winds up being consumed, is an environmental concern if those distances are pretty great. And right now, they usually are,’ said Eliot Clay of the Illinois Environmental Council. He said supporting cottage food bakers helps create

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Illinois could close all coal plants by 2035 under proposal up for vote this week

Lawmakers could provide $700 million over five years for Exelon nuclear plants in Byron, Morris, and Braidwood. The Illinois Environmental Council says the plan can support workers at those plants and secure reliable, carbon-free electricity without an unjustified bailout. IEC Executive Director Jennifer Walling explained Exelon would receive $5 billion less than what the utility

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Chicago’s surveillance network, IL environment policy, drawing the new ward map

“Mike Stephen talks to freelance reporter Michael Murney about his piece that covers the Chicago Police Department’s Private Sector Camera Initiative, gets an update on Illinois’ environmental policy from Jen Walling of the Illinois Environmental Council, and learns about public participation in drawing Chicago ward maps from Adam Alonso, CEO of BUILD. And in the

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Illinois lawmakers headed back to Springfield for renewable energy bill

“‘Energy legislation is incredibly complicated,’ said Deputy Director of the Illinois Environmental Council Colleen Smith. ‘Unfortunately, I think we just ran out of time.’ With so many jobs and the climate itself on the line, lawmakers are headed back to Springfield next week to finally get a bill passed.” Read the full article here.

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Chicago Alderpersons Earning Top Marks on Inaugural Environmental Scorecard Announced

The Illinois Environmental Council Releases First Chicago City Council Scorecard, Recognizes Green Champions at Mid-term (CHICAGO) – Today, the Illinois Environmental Council (IEC) released its inaugural Chicago City Council Environmental Scorecard, which scores each sitting Chicago City Council alderperson based on the environmental impact of their voting record over the last two years. For over

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2021 Chicago City Council Scorecard

For the first time, IEC has released an Environmental Scorecard for the Chicago City Council, debuting each sitting City Council alderperson’s average environmental score. Scores are based on the environmental impact of their voting record over the last two years.  That means, for the first time, you can see whether your alderperson has used their power

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Intro to Energy Law

https://youtu.be/K4uCDVIJDe4 This Lunch & Learn serves as a crash course on energy policy in Illinois. Presenters: Cary Shepherd, Bluhm Legal Clinic at Northwestern School of Law Nancy Loeb, Director, Environmental Advocacy Clinic at Bluhm Legal Clinic

Intro to Energy Law Read More »