Stop Polluter Payoffs: IL Advocates Head to D.C.

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Sierra Club sent a seven-person Illinois delegation to Washington, D.C. this week as part of our national “Stop Polluter Payoffs” campaign. Needless to say, we were excited to join 100 volunteers and organizers from 16 states to talk to our elected officials about the importance of defending against attacks to the Clean Power Plan, smog safeguards, and coal ash protections.

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For five decades, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has made and enforced protections that reined in polluters and saved lives. Now, the agency is working on public health standards that will clean up our air and water, and save even more lives: carbon pollution protections for new and existing power plants, dirty smog that pollutes our air, and toxic water pollution. Illinois’s Members of Congress should represent the interests of their constituents, not Big Polluters, by voting against attacks on public health protections.

Illinois is home to hundreds of rockstar volunteer leaders, and they were represented this week by Laura Asher (Alton), Robin Garlish (Pekin), Barbara Klipp (Grayslake), Dulce Ortiz (Waukegan), and Verena Owen (Winthrop Harbor). They were there to bring the message of the over 5,000 Illinoisans who took action to support a strong smog standard, and the over 20,000 Illinoisans who took action to support a strong Clean Power Plan!
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We were pleased to have strong support from so many of our Representatives for a stronger smog standard and our Clean Power Plan efforts both in Washington and Springfield. Our Congressmen and women know that stronger EPA protections to curb life-threatening pollution can help us improve the lives of people in Illinois and millions of Americans and clean up our air, water, and environment.

Highlights from our trip include:

• Our team hitting it out of the park on our first and perhaps most important meeting with Kirk’s staff – asking our Republican friend to continue to advocate for action on climate

• Representative Cheri Bustos recognizing Robin Garlish for her work in Peoria and encouraging us to stay strong on the coal ash fight

• An in-person meeting with Congressman Rush where he stressed the importance of clean air and clean water particularly in environmental justice communities

• Three of our Lake County Woods and Wetlands Groups members meeting with newly-elected Representative Dold about clean air for the Waukegan area

All in all we made it to 19 of the 20 Illinois offices and met with staff in 15. It was, literally, a lot of leg work, but we’re so proud of our team and so ready to bring this fight back home. Join us by sending a letter to your officials in Washington asking them to stand up for people, not polluters: http://action.sierraclub.org/114

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