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Expanded Drug Takeback Program Aims to Keep Pharmaceutical Pollutants Out of Our Water

If passed, the act will require companies to produce promotional materials to educate the public about the takeback program and collection sites, said Gong-Gershowitz. Environmentalists cheered the proposed legislation. “This takeback program is a common sense approach to minimize the presence of pharmaceuticals in drinking water and reduce human and wildlife exposure,” said Colleen Smith, …

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Could Springfield Pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act This Session?

“[CEJA] is centered around renewable energy and support of renewables, but also our bill is centered around supporting consumers, jobs and equity,” said Jennifer Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council, which represents over 90 environmental organizations in the state. Read the Full Article Here.

The Super Bowl Ad Chicagoans Should Be Talking About, But Probably Didn’t Even Notice

“While the Super Bowl was being played in a stadium that is projected to experience significant flood risks if climate change continues to go unabated and sea levels continue to rise, we weren’t surprised to see large oil and gas companies funding high-dollar Super Bowl ads perpetuating a disinformation campaign to keep states tied to …

The Super Bowl Ad Chicagoans Should Be Talking About, But Probably Didn’t Even Notice Read More »

Rep. Ford demands removal of lead water pipes on West Side

Iyana Simba, a clean water advocate from the Illinois Environmental Council, believes the threat of lead contamination in our drinking water is significantly higher in Chicago than almost anywhere else in the United States. “The upcoming town hall meeting is about taking that first step in combating this public health crisis,” Simba said. “This will …

Rep. Ford demands removal of lead water pipes on West Side Read More »

Organizations, lawmakers respond to State of the State address

Today, Illinois Environmental Council Executive Director Jen Walling released the following statement in response to Gov. JB Pritzker’s remarks regarding climate change and his decision to prioritize clean energy legislation during his 2020 State of the State address: “At a time when the Trump administration is taking major steps backward on climate, Governor Pritzker’s commitment …

Organizations, lawmakers respond to State of the State address Read More »

Does Illinois Have the Energy to Opt out of FERC?

As Pritzker celebrated a year as governor, the Illinois Environmental Council’s Director Jennifer Walling made public a review expressing disappointment in his lackluster approach to environmental issues. “While it is uncomfortable for me to admit, the truth is those of us who care about protecting our environment are eager to see more action from the …

Does Illinois Have the Energy to Opt out of FERC? Read More »

The Proposed Ordinance That Would Outlaw Single-Use Plastic in Chicago

Executive Director at the Illinois Environmental Council, Jennifer Walling, joins John Williams to talk about this week’s NewsClick and the possible ban on single-use plastic and foam in Chicago. If banned, restaurants worry about the cost of single-use alternatives. If passed, the ordinance would give restaurants until January 1st, 2021 to find their alternatives. Read …

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Chicago Moves To Ban All Styrofoam, Single-Use Plastics

The ordinance calls for a total elimination of polystyrene, or styrofoam, foodware. The notorious packaging is not biodegradable. The ordinance is supported by Ald. George Cardenas (12th), Ald. Matt Martin (47th), Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd), Maria Hadden (49th) and Michele Smith (43rd). This ordinance would be the Midwest’s strongest, said Jen Walling, executive director of …

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Lightfoot to launch waste management study, hopes to find way to improve Chicago’s dismal recycling rate

For years, Chicago aldermen and the Illinois Environmental Council have demanded a review of managed competition, which has allowed Waste Management to mark blue recycling carts as contaminated — even though that company has a “financial incentive to divert” the contents of those recycling bins to landfills they own and operate. Read the Full Article …

Lightfoot to launch waste management study, hopes to find way to improve Chicago’s dismal recycling rate Read More »

The Illinois EPA Faces Challenges

“The IEPA today is mostly focused on permitting,” said Jennifer Walling, CEO of the Illinois Environmental Council. “When you have a new facility or your permit expires, putting together a permit to allow you to engage in whatever polluting activity you like. They do have inspectors to inspect, fine violations and maybe do a compliance …

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Lightfoot’s Actions on Environmental Campaign Promises Are Off to a Slow Start

“I would not call this first step keeping that promise,” said Jennifer Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council, referring to Lightfoot’s campaign pledge. Walling, whose organization represents about 80 environmental groups, said she understands the budget constraints but wonders how much power Lightfoot will give the new officer. “It’s really important for that …

Lightfoot’s Actions on Environmental Campaign Promises Are Off to a Slow Start Read More »

Report: Illinois has seen most environmental job cuts in US since 2008

“I know the people at Illinois EPA are trying to do their jobs and the obligations we’ve given them with limited resources, but it’s just too little and the work isn’t getting done,” said Jen Walling, Executive Director of the nonprofit Illinois Environmental Council. “This means that people are subject to more pollution, polluters are …

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Over 500 protesters rally in support of clean energy jobs

Jen Walling, the council’s executive director, hopes to persuade legislation into passing this act. She said it will bring numerous jobs and equity to communities that have been negatively impacted by what she calls “dirty energy.” “We really need the relief in Illinois. We need the jobs for the Clean Energy Jobs Act. We need …

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How tough is the Illinois law on ethylene oxide? Not nearly tough enough, some lawmakers and residents say.

“It’s disappointing to hear they think that way because it shows industry stakeholders aren’t taking this crisis seriously,” said Jennifer Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council, a nonprofit group that helped draft legislation opposed by Griffith and other business lobbyists. “They appear to be more interested in protecting the bottom line than negotiating …

How tough is the Illinois law on ethylene oxide? Not nearly tough enough, some lawmakers and residents say. Read More »

Illinois Environmental Council ‘solarbrates’ new solar rooftop at Springfield office

Despite persistent rain, it was a “solarbration” at the Illinois Environmental Council’s Springfield office, 520 E. Capitol Ave., Thursday afternoon as the advocacy group celebrated its new solar rooftop project. The 9.72kW system is going to offset about eight tons of carbon emissions each year, more than 40 percent of the building’s total consumption for …

Illinois Environmental Council ‘solarbrates’ new solar rooftop at Springfield office Read More »

A year later, fight against ethylene oxide persists: ‘These folks aren’t going away.’

For many of the activists and leaders, victories in recent months haven’t tempered their anger and frustration about toxic pollution from the release of ethylene oxide for decades. “I’m used to seeing these movements wilt after somebody promises new laws or regulations,” Jennifer Walling, who grew up near Sterigenics in Darien and now leads the …

A year later, fight against ethylene oxide persists: ‘These folks aren’t going away.’ Read More »

Illinois marijuana growers will face energy efficiency and reporting rules

“I think that overall, we ended up in a very strong position with the environmental concerns regarding cannabis in this bill,” said Cary Shepherd, policy director at the Illinois Environmental Council. Shepherd helped draft the legislation’s efficiency requirements along with members of the University of Chicago Abrams Environmental Law Clinic and the Midwest Energy Efficiency …

Illinois marijuana growers will face energy efficiency and reporting rules Read More »

Illinois legislators unveil bill to keep ethylene oxide emissions away from ‘densely populated regions’

“Anything where you’re phasing out or banning a chemical is going to be difficult. And I think that this is going to have opposition from several industry stakeholders,” said Jen Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council. “I think that the governor is excited to sign a strong piece of legislation that would come …

Illinois legislators unveil bill to keep ethylene oxide emissions away from ‘densely populated regions’ Read More »

Gov. J.B. Pritzker signs bill that classifies ‘local’ foods

Eliot Clay, agriculture and water programs director with the Illinois Environmental Council, said that the council pushed the legislation, known as House Bill 2505, forward. “There’s a growing want in communities for products that are locally grown,” Clay said. Read the Full Article Here.

Illinois Sets Strict Energy Efficiency Rules For Cannabis Growers

“It is the best in terms of sustainability regulations of any cannabis regulation in the country,” said Jennifer Walling, the executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council. The environmental council represents more than 80 environmental groups in Illinois and pushes for stronger environmental laws and policies at the state capitol. Those groups were concerned about …

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Despite Federal, State Efforts, Dicamba Complaints Continue

Jen Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council, a group that works to protect the state’s environment, said they initially asked for a ban on the spraying of dicamba but supported the cut-off date over no action. Walling said the organization’s concerns include what is happening to natural areas across the state and even …

Despite Federal, State Efforts, Dicamba Complaints Continue Read More »

Illinois Governor Signs Bill Allowing State To Create GHG Restrictions

“In 1998, an anti-environment majority restricted Illinois’ ability to tackle air pollution, including carbon emissions. Twenty-one years later, a majority of the Illinois House and now Illinois Senate supports action on climate change and reducing Illinois’ carbon emissions,” comments Jen Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council. Read the Full Article Here.

As Newark Deals With Water Crisis, Another Look at Lead Levels in Chicago

A Q&A with three key players when it comes to Chicago’s water quality: Andrea Holthouse Putz, deputy commissioner of water supply for the Chicago Department of Water Management; Dr. Allison Arwady, chief medical officer and acting commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health; and Jen Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council. Read …

As Newark Deals With Water Crisis, Another Look at Lead Levels in Chicago Read More »

Why Are Unions Joining Conservative Groups to Protect Pipelines?

“According to Jennifer Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council, its senate sponsor, Michael Hastings (D–19), plans to discuss elements of the bill with her organization, the AFL-CIO, and the IMA over the summer, which suggests it may be reintroduced the next legislative session in a revised form…Its passage would mean that “if a …

Why Are Unions Joining Conservative Groups to Protect Pipelines? Read More »

An Illinois bill leans into the most contentious part of the Green New Deal

An amendment outlining the key provisions of the Clean Energy Jobs Act mentions “environmental justice” at least 30 times. “We are getting pushback from communities that have coal plants that would be predicted to close under this,” said Jen Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council, a group promoting the Clean Energy Jobs Act. …

An Illinois bill leans into the most contentious part of the Green New Deal Read More »

New Illinois Bill Targets 100% Renewable—Not Just Clean—Electricity by 2050

“It’s important that not just the six-county area around Chicago benefits. We need the benefits to reach all 102 counties, and every part of the state,” said Jen Walling, coalition member and executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council. “This bill does exactly that.” Read the Full Article Here

With signature, Pritzker commits Illinois to U.S. Climate Alliance

“Speaking at a news conference in Springfield’s eco-friendly Southwind Park, Pritzker joined officials from the Illinois Environmental Council and the Illinois chapter of the Sierra Club, emphasizing the need to take local action to address climate change while also taking a few verbal jabs at the president.” Read Entire Article Here.

City Expects To Rake In $5.9M From Chicagoans Paying For Plastic, Paper Bags Next Year

Heather CheroneThe city’s just-approved $10.67 billion 2019 spending plan estimates that the city will rake in $5.9 million from people who don’t bother — or forget — to bring reusable bags when shopping. Jen Walling, the executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council, which pushed for the tax, said the group “would expect the city …

City Expects To Rake In $5.9M From Chicagoans Paying For Plastic, Paper Bags Next Year Read More »

Alderman, advocates push for recycling reform in Chicago

Katie PyzykChicago Alderman John Arena is calling for the city to consider eliminating its flat $9.50 per household waste collection fee in exchange for a volume-based rate, giving residents a financial incentive to recycle. Following a recent council hearing on the topic, Arena released a statement saying, “The city’s recycling program has failed its residents.” …

Alderman, advocates push for recycling reform in Chicago Read More »

Public Health Chief Addresses Lead Contamination in Chicago Homes

Erica GundersonLast week, Chicago city officials revealed that a significant sampling of city homes retrofitted with new smart water meters have elevated lead levels in their tap water. And the installation of the meters may be contributing to it. “We worked to pass a law in 2017 about school testing that also included a law …

Public Health Chief Addresses Lead Contamination in Chicago Homes Read More »

Illinois lawmakers hold hearing on Sterigenics facility

Cole LauterbachIllinois lawmakers heard from experts and people affected by the chemicals being released by a suburban Chicago facility at a Friday hearing. Willowbrook-based Sterigenics has been using a cleaning agent called ethylene oxide, known as ETO, to clean medical supplies. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has said exposure to the chemical over time can …

Illinois lawmakers hold hearing on Sterigenics facility Read More »

Bill to Help Illinois Agencies Donate Leftover Food Signed Into Law

Alex RuppenthalUnder the new law, agencies must formulate food donation policies that outline nearby food pantries, soup kitchens and other organizations that accept donations. Walling said the law will be especially helpful to agencies that run hospitals and corrections facilities, where the population can vary from day to day. “It can be difficult to estimate …

Bill to Help Illinois Agencies Donate Leftover Food Signed Into Law Read More »

Gov. Rauner launches the Driving a Cleaner Illinois program

Press release submissionGov. Bruce Rauner and Illinois EPA Director Alec Messina launched the “Driving a Cleaner Illinois” program, aimed at improving air quality in the state by primarily removing old diesel engines from service. Jen Walling, Executive Director of the Illinois Environmental Council (IEC), voiced support for the program stating, “The proposed VW final settlement …

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Rauner Signs Bill Legalizing Industrial Hemp in Illinois

Alex RuppenthalThe new law permits the cultivation of industrial hemp, a variety of the cannabis plant that is used to make paper, fabrics, biodegradable plastics, construction materials and a variety of foods, including granola. The bill was introduced in January by state Sen. Toi Hutchinson, D-Chicago Heights. “We are excited that Gov. Rauner is signing …

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From the community: Curran initiative to reduce food waste signed into law

By Community Contributor tbryersSenate Bill 2606 requires Illinois government agencies entering into contracts with food vendors to adopt a policy that allows for leftover food to be donated. The policy must be circulated to all agency employees and include the names of nearby soup kitchens, food banks, and other nonprofits where the food can be …

From the community: Curran initiative to reduce food waste signed into law Read More »

Disability, environment groups seek win-win solutions following straw ban

By Yvonne Kim“’I worry about how we’re placing the responsibility of reducing plastic on consumers when it really is big corporations that are making the choices,’ said Jennifer Walling, the council’s executive director. ‘It’s great that (individuals) are changing their behavior, but if we really want change it needs to be done with corporate and …

Disability, environment groups seek win-win solutions following straw ban Read More »

If Starbucks And Seattle Can Ban Plastic Straws, Could Chicago Be Next?

By Mauricio PeñaIllinois Environmental Council Executive Director Jennifer Walling said the time to have a discussion with stakeholders in the city about reducing plastic litter in Chicago is now. While no legislation has been drafted for the state, Walling said they are looking at what other cities have done and are working with disability advocates …

If Starbucks And Seattle Can Ban Plastic Straws, Could Chicago Be Next? Read More »

Illinois environment groups welcome Starbucks ditching plastic straws

By Leo Ji“In January, the Alliance, together with the Shedd Aquarium and the Illinois Environmental Council, issued a joint resolution recognizing the implementation of a federal law banning plastic micro-beads from personal-care products. Even before the federal law, manufacturers had begun to voluntarily remove the micro-beads from products, Caddick said. That could also work for …

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‘Clean’ dumps might not be so clean, attorney general Madigan’s lawsuits say

By Brett Chase | Better Government Association“Quarry landfills do not have the appropriate safeguards in place to protect groundwater,” says Jennifer Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council. “The failure to pass legislation this year that would require groundwater monitoring put Illinois communities at risk.” Read the entire piece at the Chicago Sun-Times

IDNR funding improved

By Daily Journal staffThe Illinois Environmental Council reports the Illinois Fiscal 2019 budget has broken “a long trend of cuts and unspent appropriations” for natural resources, with an “especially heartening” 6.7 percent increase for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. A highlight is $37 million match for the federal Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, which provides …

IDNR funding improved Read More »

Illinois Bill Would Help Agencies Donate Leftover Food

By Alex Ruppenthal“An existing law prevents state agencies from signing food service contracts that prohibit donations. But even though agencies are permitted to donate food, they are less likely to do so without a plan in place, said Jen Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council, which helped craft the bill.” “‘The important thing …

Illinois Bill Would Help Agencies Donate Leftover Food Read More »

State Sen. Bush resolution urges Wisconsin to rethink environmental regulation cuts for Foxconn plant

By Jim NewtonThe resolution has the support of some environmental groups in Illinois, including the Illinois Environmental Council. “With this resolution, Illinois commits to protecting people over profits, by not waiving similar environmental regulations for projects coming into our state,” Colleen Smith, legislative director of the Environmental Council. Read the entire piece at The Chicago …

State Sen. Bush resolution urges Wisconsin to rethink environmental regulation cuts for Foxconn plant Read More »

Illinois Senate to get involved in Foxconn squabble with state

By Ricardo Torres“On Thursday, the Environmental and Conversion Committee for the Illinois State Senate passed a resolution urging ‘Illinois agencies to take whatever actions possible to protect against the loss of water resources, the potential flooding, and other ecological impacts from this development.’ The resolution cites Foxconn’s plans to draw 7 million gallons of water …

Illinois Senate to get involved in Foxconn squabble with state Read More »

UI biology students to cap off course by briefing Urbana officials on bills

By Adalberto Toledo“The [University of Illinois] students have been working closely with the Illinois Environmental Council, which last week held an Environmental Lobby Day at the Capitol for 10 of their priority bills as legislators in Springfield finished off this session.” Read the entire piece at The News-Gazette

Bill to Create Urban Agriculture Zones Passes Illinois House

By Adalberto Toledo“The [University of Illinois] students have been working closely with the Illinois Environmental Council, which last week held an Environmental Lobby Day at the Capitol for 10 of their priority bills as legislators in Springfield finished off this session.” Read the entire piece at The News-Gazette

Rauner, lawmakers in showdown over how — and how fast — to spend VW settlement

By Brett Chase | Better Government AssociationA number of health, environmental and clean energy groups have asked the state EPA to put the brakes on its high-speed spending plan and make the process more transparent to taxpayers. “Clearly, they’re in a hurry to spend the money,” said Al Grosboll, legislative director for the Chicago-based Environmental …

Rauner, lawmakers in showdown over how — and how fast — to spend VW settlement Read More »

Renewable energy advocates protest bill they say bails out coal companies

By WAND“Jennifer Walling, Executive Director for the Illinois Environmental Council, said, ‘Dynegy is a big corporation that owns several coal plants in Illinois. They’ve just been bought by a Texas corporation called Vistras, and they want to get a bail out. That is not only bad for the environment, because polluting coal plants open, but …

Renewable energy advocates protest bill they say bails out coal companies Read More »

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