Join Sierra Club to Protect our Air

If fossil fuel interests & Governor Rauner get their way, there’ll be a lot more dangerous pollution in Illinois’ air!

Dynegy, the Texas-based company that now owns Ameren is working behind closed doors with Rauner’s administration to rewrite State air pollution rules to allow them to double the amount of dangerous pollution they can spew into our air. Join Sierra Club, our partners, and concerned community members at the Illinois Pollution Control Board meeting on March 6 to demand that our state protect people and the environment over corporate profits.

WHAT: Pollution Control Board Hearing
WHERE: 157 N Main St, Edwardsville, IL 62025
WHEN: Tuesday, March 6, 10 am-9 pm

To RSVP, click here.

For questions? Contact Ryan Hidden: ryan.hidden@sierraclub.org.

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Sierra Club responds to Trump’s second attempt to cut Great Lakes funding

Yesterday, the Trump Administration released its 2019 budget proposal, which includes an approximate 90% cut to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), a fund that EPA distributes to groups doing work on the ground to protect and restore the Great Lakes and its ecosystems.

Duckworth Delivery

Senator Tammy Duckworth showing her support for the Great Lakes and EPA funding in September 2017

We saw a similar attempt last year, when Trump’s 2018 budget proposal included a complete elimination of the GLRI, and we fought back with the force of millions of Americans who know the value of a healthy Great Lakes. We showed that protecting the Great Lakes is a bipartisan issue, because we all need clean water to drink and economic drivers to thrive in our Midwest communities. We were happy to see Congress pass a 2018 budget that included full funding of the GLRI.

Our elected officials stood with us in rejecting Trump’s previous proposal to slash Great Lakes funding, and we expect they will do so again in response to this repeated senseless attempt. It is time to invest in our Great Lakes and our communities, and we will not stand for the Trump Administration trying to turn their backs on us by cutting jobs and threatening the progress we have made in restoring the health and prosperity of our region.

The proposal also calls for slashing EPA’s 2019 budget by 34% from 2017 to $5.4 billion — an even deeper cut than Trump sought last year. The EPA’s efforts to clean up toxic pollution, restore degraded ecosystems and respond to environmental threats cannot be done without sufficient funding and staff. At a time when crumbling infrastructure threatens the delivery of safe, clean water and climate change is bringing storm events at unprecedented levels, it is completely irresponsible to abandon successful efforts to protect our resources and make our communities more resilient.

We’ve seen what happens when the agencies charged with protecting our environment aren’t given the funding and resources needed to do their job effectively. Last year we saw an oil spill in the Chicago River, multiple chromium spills into Lake Michigan by U.S. Steel (a facility with numerous permit violations) and an overall drop in penalties sought against polluters in Illinois under Rauner’s EPA. Our Great Lakes and other waterways, as well as the air and land across our region, need protection against dangerous pollution that threatens our health and the future of our resources.

We again call on members of Congress and all of us who depend on the Great Lakes to stand up and do what our region has always done to show that protecting this precious resource and supporting a strong EPA should be a top priority for the entire nation, starting with the federal budget.

Sign the Great Lakes Protection Pledge to tell your legislators to stand up for the Great Lakes.

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All Hands on Deck event in Chicago, July 2017

Farmers, Agriculture Suppliers, and Clean Water Advocates Mark Five Years of Partnership in Nutrient Research and Loss Reduction

Peoria, IL – Farmers and environmentalists celebrated the first five years of the Illinois Nutrient Research and Education Council (NREC) this week, a unique partnership aimed at supporting research and farmer education on fertilizer practices that improve water quality and economics. Since its inception in 2012, Illinois NREC has invested nearly $9.8 Million into nutrient related research efforts.

IMG-3175The celebration, held during the Illinois  Fertilizer and Chemical Association’s annual convention at the Peoria Civic Center, featured remarks from Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs, who sponsored the original legislation as a State Senator in 2012. The legislation enacted a $1 per ton fee on agricultural fertilizer sales to fund Illinois NREC and related programs of the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

“Clean water is essential for our health and our environment, and agriculture is Illinois’ number one industry,” said State Treasurer Michael Frerichs. “I applaud the collaboration between environmental and agricultural interests to create NREC and build consensus on strategies that protect our water supply and work for farmers.”

“Limited state resources, combined with serious water quality challenges, inspired us to reinvent the way we fund and deliver nutrient research in Illinois, and it took everyone working together with the legislature to accomplish this.” said Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association President Jean Payne.

“This partnership with farmers is critical in implementing the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy and to clean up nutrient pollution in our lakes, streams and rivers,” said Dr. Cynthia Skrukrud, Clean Water Program Director for the Sierra Club, Illinois Chapter. “NREC’s research identifies science-based strategies that will protect our water supply and work on the farm.”

Jeff Kirwan, Chairman of Illinois NREC, Illinois Farm Bureau Director and Mercer County farmer said, “NREC has proven to be a great opportunity for Illinois agriculture and our environmental partners to collaborate and learn from one another about nutrient stewardship – an issue of critical interest to both groups. NREC has provided the venue for us to work together, share successes and concerns and work together to move the needle towards increased nutrient efficiency. Everyone wins when we effectively manage nutrients – it adds to farmer bottom line and decreases the potential for unwanted nutrients making their way into our water systems.”

More information about the Illinois Nutrient Research and Education Council is available at illinoisnrec.org.

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Julie Armstrong, Illinois Nutrient Research and Education Council Executive Director; Jean Payne, President, Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association; Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs; Sierra Club Illinois Director Jack Darin, Sierra Club Illinois Clean Water Program Director Dr. Cindy Skrukrud

 

 

 

2018: Resolved to Resist & Renew

We’re thrilled to start 2018 stronger than ever after a 2017 that tested all of us.  In the face of a full frontal assault from Trump, Pruitt, and their fossil fuel allies, we started Illinois on the path to a 100% clean energy future, defending the EPA and the Great Lakes against severe cuts, marched in solidarity with vulnerable communities, and continued to build a bigger, more diverse environmental movement. We’ve added thousands of new members, built new community partnerships, and welcomed hundreds of new activists and leaders like you.
2018 is the year Illinois decides if we will step up to lead on the environment, and we are 100% in to elect leaders who share our values and will champion clean energy, clean water, nature, and environmental justice.  You can read our 2018 Platform and join us by making a new year’s resolution to be 100% in for Illinois environment.

Women’s March to the Polls

On Saturday, January 20, communities around the country will mobilize to celebrate the one year anniversary of the Women’s March, and to emphasize the importance of getting out the vote in 2018. This year will be critical for determining the future of our planet and our communities. Join a march near you to kick of 2018 with power!

Women’s March: March to the Polls
302 S Columbus Drive, Chicago
Sat. Jan 20
11 am- 1 pm

Sierra Club Chicago Meet-up
10 am @ 70 E Lake St. Suite 1500
Coffee + donuts!
RSVP
Facebook event

Sierra Club Lake County Meet-up
Union Pacific UP North – Waukegan, North Chicago, Great Lakes, Lake Bluff, Lake Forest, Fort Sheridan, Highroad, Highland Park

Milwaukee Road North – Fox Lake, Ingleside, Long Lake, Round Lake, Grayslake, Prairie Crossing, Libertyville, Lake Forest, Deerfield, Lake-Cook, Northbrook, N. Glenview, Glenview

RSVP for either Lake County meet-up.

Women’s March to the Polls – Springfield, IL
Sat. Jan 20
12 pm- 1 pm
401 S 2nd St.
Springfield, IL
Facebook RSVP

Women’s March to the Polls – Peoria
Sat. Jan 20th 12pm-1pm
East Peoria Riverfront Park
1201 Riverside Drive, East Peoria
More info

Southern Illinois March to the Polls
Sat. Jan 20
11 am-5 pm
Carbondale Civic Center
200 S Illinois Ave, Carbondale
Facebook RSVP

Quad Cities Women’s March
Sat. Jan 20
12-2
Schwiebert Riverfront Park
1st Ave Downtown Rock Island
Facebook RSVP

No to Fossil Fuel Bailouts, Yes to Clean Energy!

No to Fossil Fuel Bailouts: Dynegy, the Texas-based corporation that owns the majority of the aging coal plants in Central and Southern Illinois, is working behind closed doors with Rauner’s administration to rewrite State air pollution rules to allow them to double the amount of dangerous pollution they can spew into our air. Tell state regulators to protect our air from corporate greed! Learn more and submit a comment to state regulators here.  

Yes to Clean Energy: This year, the Illinois Chapter will be working with volunteer leaders around the state to help push local goals of 100% clean energy for municipalities. Are you interested in launching or participating in a campaign in your city or town to build more clean energy and set bold goals for the future? If so, let us know, and fill out our survey about upcoming trainings.

Chicago is One Step Closer to a 100% Clean Energy Future

On November 21, 2017, the Chicago City Council approved updates to the 2014 Chicago Energy Benchmarking Ordinance. These updates will improve the visibility and transparency of building energy use, while also making the information easier to understand.

In summary, the updates will create a new Chicago Energy Rating system for large buildings required to report on annual energy consumption.  Properties in compliance with benchmarking reporting will receive between one and four stars on a four-star rating system, based on their 1-100 ENERGY STAR score. Properties with one, two, or three stars will be able to earn an additional star if they have improved by at least 10 points in the past two reporting years. Building owners will be required to post their rating in a prominent location and to share the rating at time of listing the property for lease or sale. The new rating system goes into effect in 2019.

draft placard

A draft mock-up of the rating placard

The new rating system would be based on the following scale:  

  • Zero stars: Out of compliance with energy benchmarking (no report sent to the City) 
  • One star: 1-40 points
  • Two stars: 41-60 points OR a score of 11-40 points and a 10-point improvement in the past 2 years
  • Three stars: 61-80 points OR a score of 41-60 points and a 10-point improvement in the past 2 years
  • Four stars: 81-100 points OR a score of 61-80 points and a 10-point improvement in the past 2 years

The ratings would be issued by the City of Chicago and would be posted on each building required to benchmark. The additional visibility and transparency of the rating system will enable more informed decisions about building operating costs related to energy. If all buildings with ENERGY STAR scores below 90 were to improve their scores by only 10 points to earn one additional star in the new rating system, buildings would see savings of over $70 million per year. The updated ordinance is also an important step to combating climate change and transitioning all of Chicago to 100% clean energy.