IEC in the News

IEC regularly works with journalists on stories for print, radio, TV, and internet publications. You can find many of the stories IEC has contributed to on this page.

If you are a reporter pursuing a story related to IEC’s work, or the work of our affiliates, please reach out to IEC Communications Director Tucker Barry.

Civic leaders, residents call for stricter pollution regulations


01/30/19
Advantage News
Advocates and residents from across Illinois gathered in Springfield on Tuesday for a fourth hearing before the Illinois Pollution Control Board to testify in opposition to the latest proposal to increase dangerous air pollution from the Central and Southern Illinois coal fleet operated by Texas-based Vistra Energy.

Illinois residents who have been affected by air pollution joined advocates from the Respiratory Health Association, Environmental Law & Policy Center, Environmental Defense Fund, Sierra Club, Prairie Rivers Network and the Illinois Environmental Council to call on the pollution control board to halt a rulemaking proposal that would still allow for significant increases in coal pollution from the coal plant operator.

Read the entire piece at Advantage News

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

Herald & Review
01/24/19
Peter Hancock
Gov. J.B Pritzker signed an order Tuesday to join the U.S. Climate Alliance at a news conference in Springfield’s eco-friendly Southwind Park. Pritzker was joined by 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.

Read the entire piece at the Herald & Review

Aldermen Press Pause On Tax Break For Little Village Warehouse On Old Crawford Coal Plant Site


01/23/19
A.D. Quig
If the tax break is approved, the property would be assessed at 10 percent of its market value for the first 10 years, 15 percent in the 11th year and 20 percent in the 12th year.

Colleen Smith, the legislative director for the Illinois Environmental Council, said taxpayers should not be on the hook “to perpetrate more environmental racism,” and said she was “alarmed” at how much the process so far has conflicted with what the Little Village community wants.

Read the entire piece at the Block Club Chicago

SB 1226 Endangers Safe Drinking Water & Public Health

CapitolFax
12/20/2018
Capitol Fax
Illinois continues to reel from the fatal outbreak of legionella at the Quincy Veterans’ Home. School and park districts are scrambling to address troubling levels of lead in water lines and drinking fountains. Now the House is considering a radical measure that would eliminate longstanding protections that ensure the proper installation of drinking water systems and would, in so doing, endanger safe drinking water in Illinois.

The Illinois Environmental Council opposed the bill in committee.

Read the entire piece at Capitol Fax

EDITORIAL: How Illinois can block Trump administration plan to foul our waters


12/11/18
Sun-Times Editorial Board
In the Illinois River last summer, algae blooms gave off a toxin that can be absorbed through the skin, inhaled as a mist or swallowed, causing rashes, hives, diarrhea, vomiting, coughing and wheezing. In some cases, the toxins can be fatal. Similarly, residents of Toledo, Ohio, were warned four years ago not to drink from municipal water supplies because of a toxic bloom fed by agricultural runoff in western Lake Erie.

As for pesticides specifically, some of them can’t be removed from drinking water and are not even tested for, said Jennifer Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council.

Read the entire piece at Chicago Sun-Times

How to make Chicago’s recycling better than just garbage in, garbage out


11/26/18
Madeleine Doubek
Last month, the Better Government Association’s investigative unit reported that a “managed competition” program being used for residential recycling wasn’t being managed well at all…The report found neighborhoods on the Northwest, West and Far South sides were 20 times more likely to have their recycling diverted to a landfill. Waste Management handles the recycling pickups in those communities, and Waste Management owns a landfill where much of the contaminated recycling is dumped, giving it a chance to be paid twice: once when its workers label a recycling bin as contaminated and again when it accepts those bins at its dump. Two private firms and city workers handle garbage pickup and recycling in various neighborhoods, but those serviced by Waste Management are much more likely to have recycling labeled contaminated.

Illinois PIRG, the Chicago Recycling Coalition, the Illinois Environmental Council and the BGA’s policy unit, which operates independently from its investigative unit, all have called for a thorough audit and evaluation of the Chicago recycling program before the private haulers’ contracts expire next July.

Read the entire piece at Chicago Sun Times

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


11/26/18
Heather Cherone
The 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 to continue to honor its commitment to educational program and bag giveaways related to this tax.”

Read the entire piece at Block Club Chicago

Will Illinois start charging electric car owners a road fee?


11/21/18
Jake Griffin
Illinois is one of 30 states that do not charge owners of electric and hybrid cars an annual fee to make up for lost motor fuel taxes, but that could change.
Advocates for the fees believe electric and hybrid car owners are getting enough incentives already. Federal tax credits for the vehicles range from $3,000 to $7,500. But Illinois stopped offering rebates because of its money woes.

“Anybody that suggests taxing electric vehicles is going to solve the gas tax problem is not doing the math,” said Jen Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council. “These bills are just a penalty to electric vehicle owners.”

Read the entire piece at the Daily Herald

Alderman, advocates push for recycling reform in Chicago


11/06/18
Katie Pyzyk
Chicago 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.”

Arena joined advocates, including the Illinois Environmental Council and the Chicago Recycling Coalition, in supporting multiple reform measures. They want a permanent auditing system in place by December and a detailed report from the Department of Streets and Sanitation (DSS) by May 2019. This would include an update on current recycling program goals, an explanation of the criteria used to evaluate recycling providers, a breakdown of their cost-per-ton to recycle and results from contamination audits, among other items.

Read the entire piece at Waste Dive

Public Health Chief Addresses Lead Contamination in Chicago Homes


11/05/18
Erica Gunderson
Last 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 on increased notification when construction happens, and it was a direct result of all of the science that says that lead spikes when you do any kind of construction on any part of the plumbing…And there is a specific provision in the law that we passed and was signed by Governor Rauner … that says if you are replacing a water meter, you have to give notice of the elevated lead risk.”

Walling also notes that while the water filters the city provides affected homeowners for free do make tap water safe to drink, they’re only a temporary solution to a much bigger problem. “A lead filter will remove any detectable level of lead, but … you do need to follow a particular schedule of replacement. People do have to be aware that they need to replace it on a regular schedule and make sure that it’s maintained, otherwise they’ve lost that safety measure.”

Read the entire piece at Chicago’s WTTW PBS

Illinois lawmakers hold hearing on Sterigenics facility


10/26/18
Cole Lauterbach
Illinois 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 cause cancer.

Jen Walling with the Illinois Environmental Council said that there are other facilities in Illinois, including many hospitals, that use the chemical, but not to the extent of Sterigenics.

Read the entire piece at Illinois News Network


Gov. Rauner launches the Driving a Cleaner Illinois program

Rauner Signs Bill Legalizing Industrial Hemp in Illinois

New Law Aims to Increase Use of Compost in Illinois

Chicago Tonight
08/21/18
Alex Ruppenthal
Under the new measure, introduced by state Rep. Carol Sente, D-Vernon Hills, and signed into law Monday by Gov. Bruce Rauner, state agencies must request a bid for compost as part of any landscaping project that uses off-site soil. Agencies must use compost in the project if the bid is equal to or less than using soil alone.

“One of our goals with composting has been to increase the end market for finished compost because that will create more incentives to take those items in,” said Jennifer Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council, which supported the legislation.

Read the entire piece at Chicago Tonight

Bill to Help Illinois Agencies Donate Leftover Food Signed Into Law


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

Tribune
8/3/18
By Community Contributor tbryers
Senate 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 donated.

According to the Illinois Environmental Council, approximately 23 percent of the 19 million tons of waste filling Illinois landfills each year is attributed to food scraps. Meanwhile, one in eight Illinoisans are considered food insecure.

Read the entire piece at the Chicago Tribune


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


7/15/18
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 government policy.’

Walling said people with disabilities have raised “legitimate concerns,” and the council plans to meet with groups such as Access Living, where Ballard is a staff member. Both hope legislation will preserve access to plastic straws for those who really need them, such as by requiring restaurants to have plastic straws available upon request.”

Read the entire piece at the Chicago Sun-Times


Illinois environment groups welcome Starbucks ditching plastic straws


7/9/18
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 plastic straws.”

Read the entire piece at the Chicago Sun-Times


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


7/9/18
By Mauricio Peña
Illinois 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 about how to provide an exemption for people living with disabilities who need plastic straws.

Read the entire piece at Block Club Chicago


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


6/29/18
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

Daily Journal Kankakee
6/21/18
By Daily Journal staff
The 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 money for “farmers to enter important acres into conservation.”

Read the entire piece at the Daily Journal


Illinois Bill Would Help Agencies Donate Leftover Food

Chicago Tonight
5/31/18
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 is it will have agencies create policies on how they can donate food and give employees a pathway [to donate] if they want to,’ she said. ‘There are plenty of areas within state agencies where that might apply.'”

Read the entire piece at Chicago Tonight


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

Tribune
5/15/18
By Jim Newton
The 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 Tribune


Illinois Senate to get involved in Foxconn squabble with state


5/10/18
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 per day out of Lake Michigan as having a possible negative impact on Illinois residents and it states “there are questions being raised about whether the diversion request meets the definition and intent of the Great Lakes Compact requirement that water be used for a ‘Group of largely residential customers.’”

Read the entire piece at The Racine Journal Times


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

Sun-Times
4/30/18
By Brett Chase | Better Government Association
A 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 Law and Policy Center. “We certainly appreciate the administration wants to begin moving money out the door but it’s really important that we get this right.”

Read the entire piece at The Sun-Times


Bill to Create Urban Agriculture Zones Passes Illinois House

Chicago Tonight
4/30/18
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


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


4/30/18
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


Renewable energy advocates protest bill they say bails out coal companies


4/26/18
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 it also is bad for rate payers, because it will be a rate increase for people in the Ameren territory… for people all across central and southern Illinois.'”

Read the entire piece at WAND


How the world made macro strides in curbing microbeads


4/18/18
By Bailey Bischoff
“The negative environmental effect of microbeads first gained attention in 2013 after a report by 5 Gyres and the State University of New York at Fredonia revealed a high concentration of the plastics had infiltrated the Great Lakes. In response, Illinois became the first state to pass legislation against microbeads. The plastic pollution issue struck a chord with the public, notes Jennifer Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council.

‘Illinois is rarely a state that steps up on environmental issues first, but Illinoisans care deeply about Lake Michigan and the Great Lakes,’ says Ms. Walling in an email.”

Read the entire piece at The Christian Science Monitor

Illinois Environmental Agency suffers deep staff cuts

Illinois Public Media
4/16/18
By Johnathan Hettinger
“‘There has been such a slow burn of cuts and cuts and cuts,’ said Jen Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council, an association of 80 environmental groups across Illinois. ‘But what this administration is doing is worse because they have
the capacity to do more.'”

Read the entire piece at Illinois Public Media

After delay, Illinois soil and water districts to receive $5 million

The State Journal-Register
4/7/18
By Brenden Moore
“Soil and water conservation districts, which have their roots in the Dust Bowl, are a collection of 96 mostly county-level districts that work with local farmers and landowners to prevent soil erosion and conserve the state’s water resources.

‘One of the things that’s really important about what they do is that they’re very locally based and they’re really the only local infrastructure that we have in Illinois to help with soil and water conservation,’ said Jennifer Walling, president of the Illinois Environmental Council.”

Read the entire piece at The State Journal-Register

Illinois EPA Ditches Plan to Hold Public Meetings on VW Settlement

2/26/18
By Alex Ruppenthal
“‘I think that public hearings are incredibly important on this issue because what VW did was harm the public, harm the environment,’ said Jen Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council. ‘Doing this without giving the public a chance to weigh in was a real mistake.'”

Read the entire piece at Chicago Tonight

Coalition Announces New Push for Clean Energy in Illinois


2/19/18
By Brendan Pedersen
“‘We are calling on every Illinois politician, including those, Republican and Democratic alike, campaigning for Governor, every community leader, and every voter to commit to these goals and join the conversation, so the state wins a clean, equitable energy future,’ said Jen Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council and a member of the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition.”

Read the entire piece at NBC 5 Chicago.

Bill Would Allow Illinois Residents to Challenge Environmental Permits

2/6/18
By Alex Ruppenthal
“‘In each of these cases, this is literally neighbors,’ said Jen Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council, which is helping to craft the legislation. ‘This is their property and their ability to defend their property rights.'”

Read the entire piece at Chicago Tonight

Guest View: Cuts to soil and water conservation will cost Illinois

State Register Journal
1/26/18
By IEC Executive Director Jen Walling
“Soil and water conservation districts (SWCDs) in Illinois are the only locally based infrastructure that protect Illinois’ soil and water. Cuts to these programs have cost taxpayers money through dirtier water and soil erosion, as well as harm to the environment and public health. To protect Illinois’s valuable soil and water, legislators and the governor should fully fund these programs and work harder to bring federal dollars to Illinois conservation programs.”

Read the entire piece at The State Register-Journal.

State Of Trump: Illinois Environmentalists Choose Different Direction

NPR Illinois
1/23/18
“Here in Illinois, we’re choosing a different direction,” [IEC Executive Director Jen Walling] said. She pointed out that the legislature approved the Future Energy Jobs Act just weeks after Trump was elected. The wide-ranging measure established energy efficiency goals for electricity companies and started a fund to help pay for solar power in low-income communities.

“It’s a direction that’s contributing tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of economic investment in Illinois,” she said.

List and read the entire piece at NPR Illinois.

“22 million pounds of plastic flow to the Great Lakes each year”


1/16/18
The Illinois Environmental Council’s [Executive Director] Jen Walling said the council supports “a range of proposals that would reduce plastic pollution including education, increased littering enforcement, fees, and bans of single use plastic material, as feasible.”

Read the entire article at Great Lakes Now.

As Bans On Microbeads Grow, Environmentalists Urge Less Use Of Plastics

CBS Chicago
1/4/18
“I think passing this law prompted a lot of schools to do testing and it showed there were issues there,” said [IEC Executive Director Jen Walling], who added the agency plans to advocate that testing be expanded to middle and high schools.”

Hear and read the story at CBS News Chicago.

Lead in the water: Schools make fixes after mandated tests

State Register Journal
12/23/17
“I think passing this law prompted a lot of schools to do testing and it showed there were issues there,” said [IEC Executive Director Jen Walling], who added the agency plans to advocate that testing be expanded to middle and high schools.”

Read entire article at The State Register-Journal.

High toxin levels found in Illinois quarries


11/20/17
“[IEC is] supportive of groundwater monitoring of these quarries. We think that would be a very positive step because with the material that they are taking – if they are going to take that in – we should have monitoring to make sure that they are not taking in anything that leaks to ground water…I would much rather these items go to a lined landfill where they can’t get into the ground water so quickly.”

The Illinois Environmental Council says a bill requiring groundwater monitoring has been introduced several years, but they are hopeful this year to get it passed.

Illinois Lawmakers Pass Bill to Protect Monarch Butterfly Habitat

Chicago Tonight
11/9/17
“Milkweed is labeled a weed because it’s something that in the past was a really prolific plant,” said Jen Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council, which supports the bill. “Farmers had some issues with [milkweed]. But because of habitat changes, it’s not a noxious weed anymore.”

For monarchs, the plant remains vital to their survival, serving as the final landing spot for the butterfly’s epic migratory journeys.

Sen. Bill Haine, Rep. Jay Hoffman weigh in on levee deregulation efforts

Alton Telegraph
10/24/17
“This rule change would limit the state’s ability to enforce levee height limits,” Jennifer Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council said. “Without oversight, these levees could increase flooding downstream which will not only harm communities, but devastate riparian natural areas and wildlife habitat.”

Local food boosters lobby for supportive legislation

AgriNews
10/21/17
Through his work with the Illinois Stewardship Alliance, the Illinois Environmental Council and Downtown Springfield Inc., [State Representative Tim Butler] has seen the benefits of local food systems.
“I’ve seen firsthand over the years the impact that local food systems have on the economy, on people’s health and just the good things they offer through the local food system. So, when I got into the legislature, it gave me a good opportunity to dive into some of these issues and help folks out,” he said.

Young Angler Catches Rare American Eel at Chicago River Fishing Event

Chicago Tonight
10/17/17
“While swimming in the river is unthinkable today, it’s important to remember that only a couple decades ago, fishing was not on the menu,” said Jen Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council, in a press release. “This event served as a great reminder of the progress we’ve made, as well as the potential of what the river has to offer.”

Illinois bobcat hunting season could see more permits under law awaiting Rauner’s signature

Tribune
9/18/17
The Bobcat Foundation worked with Illinois state Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, and a number of other groups that were involved in the issue, including the IDNR, Illinois Trappers Association, Illinois Humane Society and Illinois Environmental Council.
The new law would allow 1,000 permits, increasing from the present 500, but would limit the harvest to 350 animals, increasing to 375 animals the following season. It would also suspend hunting in counties where no bobcat was taken the year before, Kuroda said.

Lead-Testing School Water: When Should Parents Worry?

NPR from Illinois State University
9/28/17
“Illinois as a whole has a high number of lead pipes moving water within communities, and the problem has been a concern for decades,” Walling said.
“With the crisis in Flint, there is an increased public awareness of the ability of lead pipes to contribute lead into the drinking water we have,” she said. “There was the public will to really do something about it.”

New state laws support volunteers

Daily Journal Kankakee
9/7/17
“Open space provides real environmental and economic benefits to Illinois’ residents and should remain a consistent priority among decision-makers,” said Jennifer Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council. “Conservation Land Trusts are experienced in managing natural areas, and therefore make an ideal partner for a public-private partnership designed to promote stewardship of natural areas.”

Waiting on VW money

Tribune
6/25/17
“I think this should be started as soon as possible,” said Jen Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council. “I think the sooner the better, the more people who get to participate the better.”

Energy jobs forum set Tuesday at LLCC

State Register Journal
6/21/17
A forum on renewable energy jobs expected from the Illinois Future Energy Jobs Act is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday at the Trutter Center on the campus of Lincoln Land Community College.

Joliet, Plainfield schools to get lead results in coming weeks

Herald-News
6/12/17
In January, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a new law requiring schools and day care facilities to test for lead contamination of potable water in their buildings.
The law was initiated by the Illinois Environmental Council and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, according to her office.

Forum to focus on economic development through renewable energy

The Southern Illinoisan
6/8/17
In January, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a new law requiring schools and day care facilities to test for lead contamination of potable water in their buildings.
The law was initiated by the Illinois Environmental Council and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, according to her office.

Hemp may become newest cash crop

Edwardsville Intelligencer
6/8/17
A bill that passed unanimously in the Illinois Senate, and now goes to the House, would allow the Illinois Department of Agriculture to license farmers to grow industrial hemp.
The Illinois Stewardship Alliance and Illinois Farmers Union initiated this bill, and have collaborated with the Illinois Environmental Council and Illinois Farm Bureau in a coalition of farm and environmental interests to bring hemp back to Illinois.

Protest against Paris Accord withdrawal planned for Trump Tower this afternoon

TimeOut Chicago
6/2/17
An “emergency protest” against President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord will take place in front of Chicago’s Trump International Hotel and Tower. The rally is backed by more than a dozen groups including Indivisible Chicago, the Sierra Club, the Illinois Environmental Council and AFGE Local 704, the union representing employees in the Chicago office of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Legislator: Bill Would Trigger $2.2B in Illinois Wind Energy Projects

Chicago Tonight
5/15/17
The legislation, Senate Bill 71, passed the Senate by a vote of 47 to 3 on April 25 and has moved on to the House. The bill has received support from environmental and labor groups, including the Environmental Law and Policy Center, Illinois Environmental Council, Laborers’ International Union of North America Midwest Region and the Citizens Utility Board.

It’s just a bill

CapitolFax
5/15/17
An Illinois legislator says striking seven words from the state’s massive energy bill would clear the way for more than $2 billion in new wind energy projects.

Bill to revamp Illinois e-waste system moves forward

WasteDIVE
5/15/17
The Electronic Products Recycling and Reuse Act, established in 2008, currently covers 17 types of devices and banned their disposal as of 2012. The Illinois Environmental Council — which supports the amendments to update this plan along with other state environmental groups — reportedly fought to keep all of those devices on the list and expand the number of drop-off sites under the new program.

Bill Aims to Overhaul Illinois’ Electronic Recycling Program

Chicago Tonight
5/11/17
“The current system is broken and legislators have made a sincere effort to work with local governments, recyclers, collectors, manufacturers and environmentalists to try a new approach,” IEC Executive Director Jen Walling said.

Illinois farmers one step closer to industrial hemp

Lincoln Courier
5/8/17
Illinois Stewardship Alliance and Illinois Farmers Union initiated this bill, and have collaborated with the Illinois Environmental Council and Illinois Farm Bureau in a coalition of farm and environmental interests to bring hemp back to Illinois

New ‘Pokémon Go’ Bill Rejected by Illinois Lawmakers

Chicago Tonight
5/2/17
State Rep. Kelly Cassidy of Chicago first proposed the Location-based Video Game Protection Act in August following reports of gamers searching for virtual Pokemon at places like the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., the Auschwitz Memorial in Poland and Japan’s Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.

Study Shows Chicago Plastic Bag Usage Has Dropped Since Bag Tax

CBS Chicago
4/24/17
“It is great news that disposable bag use has declined since the Checkout Bag Tax went into effect,” said Jen Walling, Executive Director of the Illinois Environmental Council, in a statement. “We’ve all seen where disposable bags often end up – wrapped around trees and bushes, in Lake Michigan or the Chicago River, blowing around on windy days. Hopefully the reduction we’ve seen so far is a first step in getting all of these bags out of our environment.”

Study: Disposable Bag Use Down 42 Percent in Wake of Chicago Bag Tax

Chicago Tonight
4/24/17
“We’ve all seen where disposable bags often end up – wrapped around trees and bushes, in Lake Michigan or the Chicago River, blowing around on windy days,” said Jen Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council, in a press release. “Hopefully the reduction we’ve seen so far is a first step in getting all of these bags out of our environment.”

Chicago’s Plastic Bag Tax Is Working — Big Time, Study Shows

DNA Info
4/24/17
Illinois Environmental Council Executive Director Jen Walling said the study proved the tax was working.

Bobcat conservation group continues fight after first Illinois hunt

Tribune
3/29/17
While the Illinois Department of Natural Resources declared it first bobcat hunting season a success after 141 animals were taken from the lower third of the state last fall, groups that oppose the hunt plan to keep the pressure on.

4 new measures would tighten regulation of massive hog confinements

Tribune
3/28/17
After the news conference, Jennifer Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council, an advocacy group, said Koehler is working with a coalition of rural legislators to get the agricultural interests to negotiate.

She called the bills a solid first step. “There’s more we’d like to do, but these are reforms we want to see enacted,” Walling said.

Chicago Lawmaker Proposes Urban Agriculture Zones

Chicago Tonight
3/27/17
The zones would work similarly to Tax Increment Financing districts, which receive subsidies to encourage redevelopment and community-improvement projects in areas in need of revitalization, said Jen Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council, which supports the legislation.

Illinois Lawmaker Wants to Protect Animals from Lead Poisoning

Chicago Tonight
3/22/17
Despite significant efforts to reduce lead exposure from water, paint and other sources, the release of toxic lead into the environment in the form of ammunition is mostly unregulated, according to the Illinois Environmental Council (IEC).

Art, environment and a giant globe draw hundreds to 2017 Going Green Matters fair

Tribune
3/13/17
More than a thousand people visited, volunteered, exhibited and otherwise experienced the 2017 Going Green Matters environmental fair on Sunday, undeterred by cold weather and lured by the possibility of seeing their world from the inside, a fair organizer said Monday.

Guest Column: Illinois ready to lead on clean energy

State Register Journal
3/3/17 by IEC Executive Director Jen Walling
It is no secret that the change in administrations in Washington has brought a major shift in federal environmental policies. President Donald Trump has made clear his intention to roll back key initiatives enacted during the Obama Administration that tackled climate change and promoted clean energy.

Fortunately, in Illinois, we are seeing a much different approach to these issues from both our executive and legislative leaders, who recognize that action to promote clean energy represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to boost our state’s economy.

Moeller Working to Protect Natural Resources by Introducing Milkweed Bills

Tribune
2/17/17
Working alongside the Illinois Environmental Council and the Sierra Club, Moeller has introduced House Bill 685, which would prohibit local governments from fining residents who have milkweed on their property.

Special report: Worries in the water — In wake of crisis, more states look at aging systems’ impact on our health

Journal Courier
2/5/17
“This is the first step in our final goal of a lead-free water system in Illinois,” said Jennifer Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council, which has been pushing a testing bill for months. “The standardization of testing protocols and parental notification of results put Illinois at the forefront of the country in protecting children’s health.”

Chicago to Give Away 25,000 Reusable ‘ChiBags’ for Start of Bag Tax

Chicago Tonight
1/30/17
Representatives from the nonpartisan Illinois Environmental Council will help distribute the free bags this week. The organization started giving out the bags last week during a networking event.

Lead Testing, Energy Jobs Highlight Illinois’ 2016 Environmental Scorecard

Chicago Tonight
1/26/17
For environmental advocates, Illinois ended 2016 with two major victories: the passing of a landmark energy bill and an act requiring schools to test drinking water sources for lead.

But the state saw a number of other environmental initiatives last year, many of which are highlighted in the Illinois Environmental Council’s 2016 Environmental Scorecard.

After Southern Illinois schools test their drinking water for lead, what’s next?

The Southern Illinoisan
1/25/17
Schools built in 2001 and thereafter do not have to be tested at this time. Though, the law allows the Illinois Department of Public Health to write rules for further testing of newer schools, if warranted, based on the test results of the older facilities, said Jennifer Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council.

Chicago Activists Prepare to Defend Environment Under Trump

Chicago Tonight
1/24/17
“Despite what you might be feeling about things at the federal level, things are going in our favor here in Illinois,” said Jen Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council, which organized the meeting.

Rauner signs lead-testing law for schools, day care centers

Tribune
1/16/17
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office and the Illinois Environmental Council pushed for lead testing for months, but Rauner’s administration wasn’t on board until recent negotiations. Earlier versions of the bill required water suppliers to pay for the testing, which experts estimate could run from $500 to $5,000 per facility.

Rauners signs law requiring lead testing of school, day care water

Fox32
1/16/17
“The environmental defense fund estimates that a quarter of all lead pipes in the nation are in Illinois. This is just the first step towards identifying what that risk is,” said Jen Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council.

New Illinois Law Requires Schools to Test Water for Lead

Governing Magazine
1/16/17
Though lead testing cost local school districts thousands of dollars each, superintendents say the efforts were well worth the price — and some schools might already be compliant under the new law. The Illinois Department of Public Health will accept results from tests conducted after 2013, according to Jen Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council.

Lead testing for schools, day cares signed into law

State Register Journal
1/16/17
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office and the Illinois Environmental Council pushed for lead testing for months, but Rauner’s administration wasn’t on board until recent negotiations. Earlier versions of the bill required water suppliers to pay for the testing, which experts estimate could run from $500 to $5,000 per facility.

Rauner signs school, day care lead-testing law

Sun-Times
1/16/17
It follows a crisis in Flint, Michigan, which showed the dangers of lead contamination. And Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan last year called for lead testing in schools after the Illinois Environmental Council found levels of lead in some Chicago and suburban school districts.

Getting the lead out: Law would require schools to test water

Herald & Review
1/12/17
Since last year, her office has called for mandated lead testing in schools with the Illinois Environmental Council, which says there is a lack of information available to parents about water supplies.

Exelon bill supporters point to energy benefits

Herald & Review
1/12/17
At a bill-signing ceremony Wednesday at Clinton High School, Jennifer Walling, the executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council, which represents more than 80 organizations across the state, hailed the new law as “the most significant piece of climate and clean energy policy in Illinois’ history.”

Rauner signs Future Energy Jobs bill

Quad-City Times
1/12/17
“With this legislation, Illinois will now be able to compete head-to-head for clean energy jobs with any other state in the nation — and win,” said Jennifer Walling, Executive Director of the Illinois Environmental Council (IEC), who added “The Future Energy Jobs bill fixes and improves the broken Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), leading to $12 to $15 billion in private investment and the development of at least 3,000 megawatts of new solar and 1,300 MWs of wind energy— enough to power nearly 1 million homes.”

Lisa Madigan: Illinois needs to protect children from lead exposure

State Register Journal
1/12/17
“With this legislation, Illinois will now be able to compete head-to-head for clean energy jobs with any other state in the nation — and win,” said Jennifer Walling, Executive Director of the Illinois Environmental Council (IEC), who added “The Future Energy Jobs bill fixes and improves the broken Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), leading to $12 to $15 billion in private investment and the development of at least 3,000 megawatts of new solar and 1,300 MWs of wind energy— enough to power nearly 1 million homes.”

Partners for Parks and Wildlife

Partners for Parks and Wildlife (PPW) is a grassroots coalition that is dedicated to secure and increase funding for open space and park acquisition, natural area preservation, wildlife habitat protection and recreational opportunities in Illinois.

Learn More About Climate Change

The U.S. EPA’s website on climate change was once a great resource for basic scientific information on the topic and we look forward to the day that it is again. Until then, the City of Chicago is making sure its citizens have access to research and information.

Earthshare


One of the simplest ways to donate to the IEC is by contributing through EarthShare in your workplace charity campaign .