Author Archives: Terri Treacy

Spring & Summer Pollinator Events In Illinois

Wed 5/17/17 Weed (the verb) and Wine at the EVG Garden Eagle View Group (IL)
Sat 6/10/17 Churchill Woods/Glacial Ridge Forest Preserve Service Event River Prairie Group
Sat  5/20/17 Pollinator Family Day Heart Of Illinois Group
Sat 5/20/17 Spring Valley Native Plant Planting Project NW Cook County Group
Sun  6/09/17 Gardening for Butterflies and Hummingbirds Stickney-Forest View Public Library District
Wed  5/31/17 Saving the Monarchs DuPage Monarch Project
Sun 6/11/17 Bluff Spring Fen Annual Botanical Hike (late spring) River Prairie Group
Sun 7/09/17 Children’s Monarch Festival Elmhurst Garden Club’s Garden Walk & Faire

Illinois Takes Action: People’s Climate March + May Day

On April 29, thousands marched in DC, Chicago, and in cities across the state and the country to demand climate justice as part of the People’s Climate March.

Some highlights from our Chapter:

Illinois Sierra Club activist Connie Schmidt marches in DC

Illinois Sierra Club sent three buses (one from Chicago, one from the suburbs, and one from Central Illinois) and countless others traveled on their own from Illinois to DC’s massive 200,000 person march.

3000+ braved the rain and cold in Chicago to rally and march to Trump Tower

In Chicago, 3000+ people and more than 80 organizations came out in the cold rain to rally and march.

Activists (including Octavius Hayes, right) lead chants at the end of the march at the Trump Tower

At the rally, activists heard from rank-and-file union activists and environmental justice community leaders, including Octavius Hayes–a leader with Clean Power Lake County who spoke about the community’s work to address ongoing coal pollution and transition their community to a clean energy economy.

Champaign PCM

Community members gather in Champaign

In Champaign more than 200 community members gathered at Grace Lutheran Church and heard from speakers including State Sen Scott Bennett, State Rep Carol Ammons, and Sierra Club Prairie Group Chair Alice Englebretsen. Ten different organizations tabled at the event. After the program, people marched down Prospect Street, and were greeted with enthusiastic honks and waves from passersby.

Community members rally in the Quad Cities

In the Quad Cities, more than 300 people gathered at a local ball park. Speakers included the former Mayor of Rock Island, a local student leader, and an Indigenous leader from the Sage Sisters of Solidarity who are doing pipeline resistance.

Shawnee Group members at the Carbondale event

In Carbondale, hundreds gathered for a rally at Gaia House and a march through Carbondale.

Just two days later, the Sierra Club mobilized in Chicago yet again for a massive May Day rally in Chicago to bring attention and urgency to all the challenges facing our communities, especially in the wake of Trump’s election. May Day traditionally honors the work and dignity of immigrants and of labor. This year’s event also brought attention to urgent needs around racial justice, economic justice, environmental justice, women’s rights, and LGBTQ rights. State Director Jack Darin was one of the speakers at the end of the march.

People’s Climate Marches-Get on a bus in Illinois to DC or find an event near you!

On April 29–the 100th day of Trump’s Presidency–thousands will rally in DC, and thousands more will take the streets across the country to demand climate justice as part of the People’s Climate Movement.

Here in Illinois, you can jump on a bus to DC, or join a rally near you. We need you in the streets! Check out a list of statewide opportunities.
Part 1: Buses to DC
Part 2: Events in + near Illinois

Get on a bus to DC!

Chicago Buses:

  • Bus 1:
    Departs Chicago: Friday, April 28th at 7:00PM from (565 W. Adam St. Chicago, IL 60661).
    Arrives back in Chicago: Sunday, April 30 @ 6 am
    Follow this link to purchase tickets or donate to help cover a seat for scholarship riders.
    Questions? Contact JC Kibbey: jckibbey@ucsusa.org
  • Bus 2:
    Departs Chicago: Friday, April 28th at 9:00 AM from (70 E. Lake St., Suite 920 Chicago, IL 60601).
    Arrives back in Chicago: Sunday, April 30 @ 6 pm
    Follow this link to purchase tickets.
    Questions? Contact Rev Vance: revvance@faithinplace.org

NW Cook County Bus:
Departs Elk Grove Village: Friday April 28th at 7:00 PM from (Ned Brown Preserve at Grove 25 Elk Grove Village, IL 60007–Free, secure parking available at the Forest Preserve!).
Arrives back in Elk Grove Village: Sunday, April 30 @ 6 am
Follow this link to purchase tickets or donate to help cover a seat for scholarship riders.
Questions? Contact Tim Milburn: logintim@gmail.com

Central IL Bus:
Central IL: Peoria, Bloomington, Champaign. BUS IS FULL! Please consider donating $ here to help cover a seat for scholarship riders.
Questions? Contact Elizabeth Scrafford: elizabeth.scrafford@sierraclub.org

Sister Marches in or near Illinois:

PEOPLE’S CLIMATE MARCH – CHICAGO
April 29, 2017 @ Noon
Federal Plaza (230 S Dearborn)
March for our climate + our communities.
Rally @ Federal Plaza, then march to the Trump Tower
Contact: caroline.wooten@sierraclub.org
Share on Facebook
RSVP here

Coming from Lake County?
Clean Power Lake County is sponsoring two buses from Waukegan to the Chicago Climate March leaving at 8 am Saturday, April 29 and returning at 5 pm for $20 and hardship price $10.
Buses will leave from Christ Episcopal Church, 410 W. Grand Ave. in Waukegan.
Reserve your seat on the bus here.

NW Indiana:
People’s Climate March: Northwest Indiana
April 29, 2017 • 11:00 AM
Main Square Park
3000 Highway Ave, Highland 46322
Highland, IN

Rockford:
Earth Day March for Science & Climate
Rockford
April 22, 2017
4:00 PM Joe Marino Park
100 N. Water Street
Rockford, IL 61107
Facebook Event

Galesburg:
People’s Climate March: Knox County
April 29, 2017 • 12:30 PM
Public Square
29 Public Square
Galesburg, IL 61401

Quad Cities:
Quad Cities People’s Climate March
April 29, 2017 noon- 2 pm
Modern Woodman Park, Davenport, Ia• 209 S Gaines Street, Davenport, IA 52802
Questions: eagleviewgroupsc@gmail.com
RSVP here
Facebook Event

Champaign:
Champaign-Urbana Rallies for our Earth
April 29, 2017
2:00 PM
West Side Park
400 W University Ave
Champaign, IL 61820
RSVP here
Questions? Contact Stuart Levy stuartnlevy@gmail.com
Facebook Event

St Louis:
Saint Louis People’s Climate March
April 29, 2017 • 12:00 PM
Luther Ely Smith Square
20 N 4th St
Saint Louis, MO
Facebook Event

Carbondale:
Peoples Climate March of Southern Illinois
April 29, 2017 • 12:30 PM
Gaia House
913 S. Illinois Ave.Carbondale, IL 62901
Questions: jane.cogie@gmail.com
RSVP here
Facebook event

Reviving the Everglades of the North

0700-kankakee1January 26, 2017  The Kankakee River Basin lies just south of Chicago in Kankakee and Iroquois counties. The Basin was once considered among the most important freshwater ecosystems in the world. Dubbed The Everglades of North,  it had some of the highest concentrations of wildlife on the planet and was known as Chicago’s food pantry.

Last year the Kankakee National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area (NWR&CA) was formally established. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is now taking the next step in the refuge planning process to preserve and enhance the remaining wetland habitat along the Kankakee River Basin.

Support the USFWS in the development of a Land Protection Plan (LPP).

Protecting the remaining remnants of wetland landscape and working with landowners to interconnect them will protect the many endangered plant and animal species that depend on wetland habitat for their survival.

Please take action today to let the USFWS know you are in support of the Kankakee NWR&CA. The USFWS comment period ends January 31st.

You can learn more about the Refuge and the Conservation Map here.

People’s Climate Movement–Chicagoland

Join us Today! January 23rd from 3:30 to 5:30

The People’s Climate Movement is calling for 100 hours of action in response to the inauguration. Sierra Club Valley of the Fox is joining nearby Sierra Club groups in a rally at Rep. Peter Roskam’s office to let him know that his constituents and neighbors want action on climate change. If you want to do something NOW to have a voice in our future, come to this rally. We will have speakers, chanting, and marching. Make some signs. Have your kids make some signs.

Action nourishes hope.

January 23 – Monday – 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm
People’s Climate Movement-Chicagoland
Rally at Peter Roskam’s Office
2700 International Drive, West Chicago, IL

Facebook 

Questions? Email Barbara Hill

Illinois Budget Crisis Threatens Ratepayer Protection and Clean Energy Programs

While the Illinois budget crisis wreaks havoc on social programs across the state, the budget impasse also poses a major threat to three other major funds. These funds, each funded by ratepayers, not tax dollars, that are the primary funding for Illinois’ programs to protect the most vulnerable, lower bills through energy efficiency, and create jobs in renewable energy projects. Each of these funds have been specifically targeted during this budget crisis. We must act together to ensure that these important resources are protected in this time of crisis.

psp take action button2SB3382 and HB5791 will protect our most vulnerable, create good jobs in clean energy, and reduce pollution. SB3383 and HB5971 both ask for full funding and protection for the the Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standards (EEPS) Fund, while SB3383 also asks for full funding and protection for the Low Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the Renewable Energy Resources Fund (RERF).

1. Low Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) This fund is a mix of ratepayer and federal funds, and helps low income utility customers pay gas and electric bills to avoid the shut-off of service. Funds are also used to help these customers save energy through weatherization projects. More than 300,000 vulnerable Illinois households use LIHEAP to assist with energy costs. This includes seniors, disabled persons and low-income families. LIHEAP is funded by federal funds and a charge on utility bills – no state tax dollars are provided. The program consists of two funds – the Supplemental Low-Income Energy Assistance Fund and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Block Grant Fund In 2015, the LIHEAP program was targeted for elimination. SB 3383 would protect both LIHEAP funds in Fiscal Year 2017 by appropriating the full amount of anticipated funds collected from ratepayers and received from the federal government to protect our most vulnerable.

2. Renewable Energy Resources Fund (RERF) This fund, held at the Illinois Power Agency, is collected from alternative electric suppliers and is supposedly dedicated to buying renewable energy as part of Illinois’ electric suppliers. Payments from these alternative suppliers are part of their required compliance with Illinois’ Renewable Portfolio Standard, which requires a certain percentage of each supplier’s energy portfolio to come from renewable sources. To date these funds have been used to buy renewable energy credits from newly constructed solar energy projects – directly creating good jobs in Illinois. Both the pending Clean Jobs Bill (HB2607/SB1485) and ComEd’s Future Energy Plan (HB3328/SB1879) depend on RERF dollars for a new low-income community solar program. No state tax dollars are used on these programs. They are entirely collected from electric suppliers. In 2015, $98 million was swept from the RERF. SB 3383 would protect RERF funds in Fiscal Year 2017 by appropriating $120M, the approximate current balance in the Fund, to create jobs in solar energy projects.

3. Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standards (EEPS) Fund The Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (EEPS) at DCEO is used by ComEd and Ameren to help homes, businesses, and local governments save energy. These projects have lowered electric bills by well over $1 billion in the last decade and created good jobs modernizing and retrofitting homes, businesses, and local government buildings with energy-saving technologies. No state tax dollars are used on these programs. They are entirely collected from ratepayers and used by ComEd and Ameren on energy efficiency projects. In 2015, these funds were targeted for sweeps. SB 3383 would protect EEPS funds in Fiscal Year 2017 by appropriating up to $125M, or the maximum amount collected from ratepayers, to help lower electric bills through energy conservation.

DON’T SWEEP AWAY ILLINOIS’ CLEAN ENERGY FUTURE

Act Now — Support SB 3383 and HB5791

 

Shawnee Parkway — New Name for a Decades-old Proposal in far Southern Illinois

Sierra Club is opposed to the Shawnee Parkway, a proposed multi-lane, high-speed highway to facilitate the trucking industry through a portion of southernmost Illinois. The negative impacts to the environment far outweigh any perceived advantages.

nctakeaction65423

Shawnee Parkway Study Area MapThe Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has invited the public to review and comment on the draft Purpose and Need Statement for the Shawnee Parkway Study. The study is being conducted to evaluate the need for a new east/west transportation “improvement” from the intersection of Illinois Route 3/146 and Interstate 57 in Alexander, Pulaski and Union Counties. The 350-square-mile study area includes several important natural resource areas that provide important habitat for federally listed species and migratory birds including migratory waterbirds, neotropical migrants and various raptors.

indiana bat

Indiana bat. USFWS photo.

Nationally recognized Important Bird Areas include Horseshoe Lake State and Fish Wildlife Area, the Thebes-area Mississippi Kite Complex, and Union County State Fish and Wildlife Area. Cypress Creek NWR is globally recognized as an Important Bird area and the Cache River and Cypress Creek Wetlands Area RAMSAR site is located within the study area.

Illinois Natural Inventory sites within the study area include Brown Barrens’ Nature Preserve, Berryville Shale Glade Nature Preserve, and McClure Shale Nature Preserve. Additionally, the federally endangered Indiana bat has been documented throughout southernmost Illinois, with known hibernacula within the study area.

800px-Mississippi_KiteThe biologically rich and diverse environment and natural beauty of the entire study area makes it an important place for high-quality outdoor recreation experiences such as hunting, fishing, bird watching, canoeing, hiking, camping, nature photography and much more. Impacts from a multi-lane, high-speed, heavy trafficked highway on outdoor recreation enjoyment include noise and air pollution, intrusions on rural viewsheds, and damage to the ecosystem recreationists have come to visit.

h_truckMajor highways cause damaging environmental fragmentation to the landscape. Studies have shown that reduced landscape connectivity and limited movements due to highways, particularly those with high speed and high traffic volumes, result in higher wildlife mortality, lower reproduction rates, ultimately smaller populations and overall lower population viability. The fragmentation effect of roads forms a barrier to movement where animals become reluctant to move across roads to access mates or preferred habitats for food and cover. The degree of aversion to roads can generally be attributed to features associated with the road, e.g., traffic volume, road width or major habitat alterations caused by the road.  High-volume and high-speed roads tend to be the greatest barriers and most effective in disrupting animal movements and population interchange.

Cape Girardeau, Missouri and the trucking industry would be the primary benefactors of a high-speed truck transit route through Illinois, while southern Illinois has nothing to gain and everything to lose. The region would not only suffer from the negative environmental impacts brought by a multi-lane highway, Illinois would forever be responsible for the cost of its maintenance. We have difficulty keeping the two interstate highways already running through the study area in good repair—it would be fiscally irresponsible to add a third such highway.

Southern Illinois would be better served by IDOT if existing roads and bridges in the study area were adequately maintained. Additionally, enhancing existing recreation and tourism opportunities would create construction jobs while maintaining the integrity of the fragile environment. We would like to see projects such as expanding the Tunnel Hill Trail into a web of interconnected bicycle trails and lanes, and hiking trails throughout the region; additional campgrounds and compatible lodging; and full staffing and educational programming at the Cache Wetlands Center.

Comments can be sent before March 15, 2016 to:

Jeffrey Keirn
Illinois Department of Transportation
Division of Highways
Region 5, District 9
PO Box 100
Carbondale, Illinois 62903-0100

Background

The Shawnee Parkway proposal is the latest in a long line of proposals going back decades for running a major highway through the heart of southernmost Illinois. The three most recent proposals began in the early 2000s with a Kentucky Transportation Cabinet proposal to continue Interstate 66 from Paducah, Kentucky through Illinois to connect to Interstate 55 at Cape Girardeau, Missouri. That proposal died when Kentucky’s Purpose and Need Study showed no economic feasibility to build the highway.

In 2012 Cape Girardeau initiated a $3.6 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation with a 20 percent match from IDOT (thanks, Cape Girardeau!) generating a total of $4.5 million to conduct a new feasibility study. This proposal was given a new name, 66 Corridor, but was otherwise basically identical. A Community Advisory Group (CAG) was formed and a Purpose and Need Study was developed. In early 2015 payments to the outside firm conducting the “study” were halted and by July the project was cancelled.

In November 2016 IDOT announced the current, Shawnee Parkway, project. The main difference this time is the endpoints for the highway. Whereas the previous proposals called for the highway to go all the way to Kentucky, this particular proposal ends at Interstate 57 between Anna and Cairo. Since the current study area was derived from the 66 Corridor Project we are concerned about potential future impacts including the development of 66 Corridor. Therefore, it’s imperative that the cumulative effects of potential future development be included in the Environmental Impact Statement.

nctakeaction65423