Natural Resources/The Environment

Local Issues Director: Alexandra Darrow, The League of Women Voters of Glen Ellyn

Our chapter of the League follows major issues of interest to our membership; each area is the responsibility of a local issues director.  They track legislation and items of particular timely interest. Our Observer Corps attends meetings to report back to the board and members on key issues.

 

LATEST REPORT: November, 2018

 

EARTH DAY EDITION Environment/Natural Resources

“Nature shrinks as capital grows. The growth of the market cannot solve the very crisis it creates.” Vandana Shiva, Soil Not Oil: Environmental Justice in an Age of Climate Crisis

global Issues

The wildlands and the bulk of the Earth’s biodiversity protected within them are another world from the one humanity is throwing together pell-mell. What do we receive from them? The stabilization of the global environment they provide and their very existence are gifts to us. We are their stewards, not their owners.  — Edward O. Wilson

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·      World Wild Life Federation “Our Living Planet Report 2018”.

WWLF finds that humanity responsible for 60% decline in all animal populations (birds, fish, mammals and reptiles) since 1970.  The 59 scientists who contributed to the study determined that the increasing number of humans and their consumption of food and resources is wreaking havoc on the “web of life” created over the Earth’s history.  By tampering with this balance, the world’s clean air, water and more are being negatively affected.  The biggest factors contributing to the demise of our life support system, according the report, are the destruction of natural habitats, killing for food and chemical pollution.

 

U.S.  National ISSUES

E.P.A RECONSIDERING REGULATION AND CURRENT CURBS ON POWER PLANTS

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·      SYNOPSIS OF CURRENT ADMINISTRATIONS ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIONS AND POLICIES

(NYT and National Geographic)

o   Oct. 2018: Artic Offshore Wells. The federally controlled waters of the US Artic are now cleared for their first oil and gas production wells.  The Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management issued a conditional permit to Houston based Hilcorp to move forward with its “Liberty Project” in the Beaufort Sea.  Interior Secretary Zinke states that “Responsibly developing our resources in Alaska will allow us to use our energy diplomatically to aid our allies and check our adversaries”.  By contrast, environmentalists are concerned that the region’s harsh climate and threatened wildlife make the project a risky gamble with an estimated 70,000 barrels of oil for 20 years being conveyed by underwater pipelines

o   Oct.2018. President Signs Bill to Clean Up Ocean Plastics.  President called out other nations for “making our oceans landfills” when he signed legislation to improve efforts to clean up plastics from the world’s oceans.  Law passed with bipartisan support amending NOAA’s Marine Debris Act and funding through 2022.

o   Oct. 2018.  EPA Disbanded Air Pollution Review Panel.  The 20 member Particulate Matter Review Panel made of scientists expert in the health dangers of soot will not meet; no reason given why.

o   Oct. 2018.  Ban on Mining Near Yellowstone Extended.  Interior Secretary Zinke’s, whose home state is Montana, order extends the ban on mining in 30,000 acre area of federal land parcel near Yellowstone managed by the US Forest Service for another 20 years, the maximum period of time allowed by law.

o   Sept. 2018. EPA Repeals Obama-Era Methane Rules.  EPA rolled back Obama-era climate change policy, reducing requirements on oil and gas companies to monitor and mitigate releases of methane from wells and other operations.  Methane is a potent greenhouse gas.  Some in the energy industry complained that the Obama-era rules were too burdensome and hindered economic growth.

o   Aug. 2018.  EPA Unveiled Rules to Nullify Federal Rules on Coal Power Plants

o   July 2018.  Trump Administration Proposes Rollbacks of Endangered Species Act

o   May 2018.  Whitehouse Cut NASA Climate Monitoring Program

o   Jan. 2018.  EPA Loosened Regulations on Taxing Air Pollution

o   Dec. 2017.  Trump Dropped Climate Change From List of National Security Threats

o   Aug. 2017.  Trump Revoked Flood Standards Accounting for Sea Level Rise

o   June. 2017.  US Pulled Out of Paris Climate Agreement

o   March 2017.  Keystone XL Oil Pipeline Approved

o   March 2017.  Flint, Michigan Water Funding Continued

o   Feb. 2017.  Steams Reopened to Mining Waste.  President signed joint resolution passed by Congress revoking US Department of Interior’s “Steam Protection Rule”.

REGIONAL ISSUES

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Racine, WI. FOXCONN 7 Million Gallon Daily Water Diversion.

·      Racine, WI. FOXCONN PLANT UPDATE

 (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Fortune Magazine)

This past summer the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) signed off on new $10 Billion FOXCONN plant  (manufacturer of Apple products) and it’s use/extraction/divert of 7 million gallons a day of Lake Michigan Water.  The Wisconsin ILWV Upper Mississippi River Region in conjunction with LWV Wisconsin and LWV Lake Michigan question the proposed use of Lake Michigan water for an industrial development outside the Lake Michigan watershed.  There is additional air pollution concern as to whether chemicals used in manufacturing products such as zinc, chromium, copper, cadmium and benzene will be released and in what quantities.
As legal challenges proceed, Foxconn’s first Wisconsin factory maybe smaller than originally planned.  Bigger subsidies, fewer anticipated jobs due to robotics and longer anticipated payback period are currently a concern of Wisconsin residents.

DUPAGE COUNTY ISSUES

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On March 6, College of DuPage hosted viewing of “Wasted.” It showed that in the U.S. one-third or 40% of our food is going to waste at a cost of $1 trillion and 1.3 billion lbs. of food. On a related, positive note, the Illinois Environmental Council reports that their bill on food waste passes out of committee! SB2606, sponsored by Senator John Curran, passed unanimously. This legislation will provide that state agencies have a policy in place to donate leftover food, and possible organizations and pantries where leftover food can be donated.

Local Issues for Glen Ellyn

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·      Art and the Environment.  Chicago Cultural Center.  Alexis Rockman: The Great Lakes Cycle.  June 1 – Oct. 1, 2018.  Looking for volunteers to deliver Membership Directories to those who were unable to attend the August meeting.

·      Local Recycling Resources:  http://www.dupageco.org/OnlineRecyclingGuide/

·      National Public Course Environmental Steward Award -
The Village Links gained national recognition and was awarded the best environmental public golf course in the nation.  The Village Links was named the first public gold course in the world to become fully certified as a Wildlife Sanctuary by Audubon International.  The Village Links is one of the first courses designed to serve as storm water management facility.  In 2018, Audubon partnered with the Environmental Defense on a new program, Monarchs in the Rough, designed for golf courses to meet the specific needs of migrating monarch butterflies.  The Village Links participates in this new program as part of the DuPage Monarch Project and currently exceeds the targeted goal with an estimated one million stems of milkweed.

·      Idling Reduction –

Concern about the prevalence of idling cars at various school pickup locations and at the GE train station was raised at the GE Newcomers Meeting August 16.  Discussion ensued about generating awareness and action for an “Idling Reduction” campaign to provide education about idling and reduce the cumulative pollution created in one small space as well as noise, emerging and cost savings.  The USA uses more than 6 billion gallons of fuel at the cost of over $20 Billion each year.  Each gallon of fuel burned produces about 20 pounds of carbon dioxide.  IL Idling law currently only governs diesel powered vehicles and not passenger cars.  US Dept. of Energy Clean Cities makes an IdleBox available that provides ideas, materials, posters, and content to educate and encourage reduction in of idling cars.   The GE League may wish to consider conducting such a campaign. 

·      Idling Reduction Initiative–

Following up on initiative to generate awareness and action for an “Idling Reduction” campaign to reduce the cumulative pollution created in one small space as well as noise, emerging and cost savings by car idling.  Received Bonnie Gahris files on work done to date on idling.  Have calls in to Glen Ellyn Newcomers, GE schools, COD and village to reestablish contacts and discuss rebooting initiative. 

https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2017-01/documents/webinar.antiidling.pdf

·      Willowbrook – Stergenics International High Cancer Risk Cluster (Chicago Tribune)
In August 2018 US Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry released a report finding that people living near the Sterigenics plant face some of the nation’s highest cancer risks as a result of pollution caused by the release of gas, ethylene oxide, into the atmosphere.  Sterigenics uses this gas to fumigate medical instruments, pharmaceutical drugs, and food to kill bacteria and pests.  Willowbrook currently tracks as 109 in the nation with cancer risk scores of 100 equating to 6 cases of cancer for every 1000 residents.  The company has installed equipment to reduce plant pollution and both the Federal government and Illinois EPA are monitoring.  Sterigenics was fined $50,000 and 3 law suits filed to date by individuals.

·      NATIVE TREE & SHRUB SALE- PICKUP IN GE

https://gepark.org/recreation/nature/native-tree-shrub-sale/

THE GLEN ELLYN ENVIRONMENTAL COMMISSION/LANDSCAPING. Sustainable landscapes are responsive to the environment, regenerative, and can actively contribute to the development of healthy communities. Sustainable landscapes sequester carbon, clean the air and water, increase energy efficiency, restore habitats, and create value through significant economic, social and, environmental benefits. (see http://www.glenellyn.org/ec/landscaping.html)

Sustain DuPage “Turners.” Mission: Creating a generation of thought leaders who reflect critically and independently regarding current events and sustainability issues. We are an educational, guided reading discussion group who come together to explore sustainability theory. Every year will feature readings selected around a specific theme in order to construct a lattice of understanding around a critical sustainability topic. http://sustaindupage.com/turners

Submitted by: Alexandra Darrow, alix.darrow@cdk.com


OFFICIAL POSITION OF THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF ILLINOIS:

NATURAL RESOURCES POSITIONS:  The Illinois LWV takes action on the state level in the following areas based on these LWVUS positions: Agriculture Policy; Environmental Protection and Pollution Control; Natural Resources; Public Participation; and Resource Management.