The Illinois House and Senate passed and the Governor signed a six month stop gap budget which ends December 31, 2016. While this is progress, passing a budget in the second half of FY17 will be difficult as the legislature will likely have to consider additional revenue.
This budget covers many line items related to the environment and conservation, including some appropriations left unfunded from FY16. Read on to learn more:
- Soil and Water Conservation Districts were funded at $2.8 million. SWCD programs protect soil from eroding and reduce nitrogen and phosphorous loss into Illinois’ waterways.
- Funding was allocated to the Water Revolving Fund, meaning that these important stormwater infrastructure projects might proceed.
- Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding from the federal government has been appropriated for important coastal management projects.
- While funding was allocated to the DCEO recycling division, it seems that funding will only cover administrative costs and grant programs will not be restored.
- Funding has been appropriated to the Leaking Underground Storage Tank program, which is an important program for cleaning up environmental contamination resulting from certain underground storage tanks.
- Appropriations were made to the Illinois Power Agency, improving the state’s ability to procure renewable energy.
- Funding was allocated to the low income and municipal energy efficiency programs. These programs save up to 146 million kWh of electricity and 5.33 million therms of natural gas energy will be saved, resulting in a 160,253 ton reduction of carbon pollution in Illinois.
- LIHEAP funds to assist low income customers have been appropriated.
- Over 140k was budgeted for expenses related to the Endangered Species Protection Board, whose budget was zeroed in earlier budget drafts.
- Federal Fish and Wildlife pass through grants look to be restored.
- Upon initial review, it does not seem that any funds that the environmental community supports were swept. The Renewable Energy Resources Fund and OSLAD funding, among others, seem safe for the time being.
Somewhat unrelated to the budget passage, the Illinois State Museum will open July 2nd with new entry fees passed in June by administrative rule.
We are still reviewing the impacts of the enacted budget on environment and conservation programs in Illinois so keep an eye out for futher developments.