FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE MAY 2, 2018
CONTACT: Kady McFadden, Sierra Club, (630) 747-0915
Illinois Senate Passes Legislation to Respond to President Trump’s Threats to Environmental and Worker Protections
SB2213 would maintain baseline protections on environment, workers as of Jan 2017
(Springfield) – Today, the Illinois Senate passed Illinois Baseline Protection Act (SB2213). This Act would preserve Illinois’ current environmental and worker safeguards by preventing state and local agencies from weakening Illinois environmental and labor standards below the requirements of the federal statutes and regulations in place as of January 1, 2017. The bill’s chief sponsors are Senator Daniel Biss in the Senate and Representative Juliana Stratton in the House.
Illinois derives many of its current protections for air, water, wildlife, workers’ rights and worker safety from federal statutes and regulations, which set minimum standards that states may meet or exceed. President Trump, his administration, and Congressional leaders have indicated an intent to weaken, repeal, or restrict the implementation of a wide range of environmental, health, and safety laws and regulations. Such federal actions would open the door to lowering the environmental and labor standards that currently protect the people of Illinois.
“The Trump administration’s relentless attacks on environmental protections and workers’ rights have left state governments as the first and sometimes only line of defense for the safety of the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the jobsites where we work,” said lead Senate sponsor Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston). “The Senate’s passage of SB2213 today shows how Illinois can step up and lead in this difficult time.”
The legislation now moves to the Illinois House with lead sponsor Representative Juliana Stratton.
“With top EPA officials alluding that there may be a safe level of lead in our children’s drinking water, we must do everything we can to ensure our basic environmental, public health, and worker protections are intact while President Trump is in the White House,” said lead House sponsor Representative Juliana Stratton (D-Chicago). “Illinois does not have to follow the Trump administration in a race to bottom rolling back basic safeguards, and SB2213 will ensure that we do not.”
SB2213 would maintain existing environmental and worker protections in Illinois pursuant to these federal laws, so that if federal minimum standards under any of these statutes are lowered, Illinois will not follow suit, but remain as protective as on January 19, 2017. The Federal Standards included in this law are the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, Endangered Species Act, Occupational Safety and Health Act, Mine Safety and Health Act, Federal Labor Standards Act.
“We applaud Senator Biss, Representative Stratton, and all the state lawmakers who are doing their best to protect the people and environment of Illinois at a time of great uncertainty,” said Illinois Sierra Club Chapter Director Jack Darin. “We have limited control over what Scott Pruitt and other Trump administration officials can do to in Washington, but the Baseline Protection Act will limit the damage they can do here in Illinois.”