Natural Resources/The Environment

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

The League of Women Voters of Glen Ellyn follows 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.

 

 

Latest Report September 2019

REPORT FOR ENVIRONMENT/NATURAL RESOURCES

LOCAL-Glen Ellyn

State Rep. Terra Costa Howard (D-Glen) Ellyn hosted Town Hall Meeting on Environment,

  • On Aug. 8 Costa Howard hosted Environmental Issues Town Hall Meeting with the Illinois Environmental Council on at the Glen Ellyn Police Department. Discussed working environmental advocates and local residents to stop companies like Sterigenics from leaking dangerously high levels of cancer-causing ethylene oxide by enacting some of the strictest environmental regulations in the nation

  • Representatives from the Illinois Environmental Council, the Citizens Utility Board, Sierra Club and DuPage’s School & Community Assistance for Recycling and Composting Education (SCARCE) to discuss the various state and local initiatives to make Illinois a leader in green policy.

  • As a co-sponsor of the Clean Energy Jobs Act she discussed the impact of the act to protect the economy and natural resources

Idling Reduction Initiative Collaboration–

  • Need to re-engage with the COD Environmental Club, and COD Environmental Club members look forward to collaborating with LWVGE on the Idling Reduction Initiative\

    REGIONAL

Microplastics in the Great Lakes. (Chicago Tribune Sept.4, 2019)

  • 22 million pounds of plastics enter the Great Lakes (the planet’s largest system of fresh water) each year

  • 80% of litter on Great Lakes shore is plastic debris

  • Per Rochester Institute of Technology, regardless of size plastics linger in the water and continue to breakdown from exposure to sun light and abrasive waves.

  • The impact of microplastics on human health remains unclear

  • In July, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a law a bill directing the IL EPA to examine the role of microplastics in drinking water and the Prairie Research Institute to make recommendations on the threat to human health and the environment.

  • Southern Lake Michigan is a hot spot for plastics entering from lake currents, water treatment facilities and agriculture run off, sewage,littering and even plastics from your clothes coming off in the wash. These plastics remain in Lake Michigan or move to the Chicago River and linger.

  • 85% of all fish caught contain mircoplastics in their gut.

  • Concern is growing asto what gets absorbed into the human blood stream by ingesting fish and water containing microplastics.

  • How to mitigate? Steps you can take to reduce your use of plastic:

    • Use reusable plastic bags

    • Forgo single use straws, plastic balls and bags

    • Avoid using microfiber-capturing balls or mesh bags in laundry

Climate Change.

  • LWVIL Call to Action. LWVUS filed briefs supporting Juliana V US - where youth claim that the government's affirmative actions have caused climate change, and therefore have violated the youngest generation's constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property, as well as failed to protect essential public trust resources. The League of Women Voters of Illinois stands with youth in fighting for action with the International Climate Strike on September 20.

  • Lobby Day on Oct 29th in Springfield to support the Clean Energy Jobs Act with the LWVIL. Reserve space for a free bus ride to Springfield on Tuesday, October 29 to participate in a Veto Session Lobby Day for the Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA) sponsored by the Illinois Environmental Council. Buses will be provided - free of charge - to Springfield leaving from locations across the state. CEJA addresses climate change by leading Illinois to 100% renewable energy by 2050, decarbonizing our power sector by 2030, reducing gas and diesel vehicles from the transportation sector, and providing economic development and job opportunities.

Regional Meetings

  • LWVLMR and LWV UMRR. Attended both meetings in July 2019. Both encouraging leagues to sponsor education programs on climate change and water pollution.

NATIONAL-LWVUS

  • The Trump Administration’s latest budget proposal once again calls for stripping much of the critical funding required to protect U.S. lands and waters, study environmental threats, reduce risks to communities from extreme weather events and improve public health. The biggest threats include major cuts to the budgets of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Interior, along with eliminating funding for programs like the Land and Water Conservation Fund (federal funding that was already allocated and approved and then diverted to fund other non-environmental initiatives).Contact US Sens. Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin and US Representative Sean Casten to urge their support to preserve the current Land and Water Conservation Fund

WORLD 

  • UN Climate Action Summit (A Race We Can Win). UN Summit is to be held during Climate Week NYC September 23-29. Businesses, governments, academic institutions, arts organizations, individuals and non- profit organizations are invited to participate in the week-long events program including panel discussions concerts, exhibitions, seminars and more. info@theclimategroup.org.

    • Climate change is the defining issue of our time.There is still time to tackle climate change, but it will require an unprecedented effort from all sectors of society. To boost ambition and accelerate actions to implement the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, UN Secretary-General AntónioGuterres will host the 2019 Climate Action Summit.

    • The 16-year-old Swedish youth activist Greta Thunberg sailed from Europe to curb carbon emissions from air travel, will attend UN climate summits in New York in September, and in Santiago, Chile, in December.Her 60-foot Malizia II racing yacht, equiped with solar panels and underwater turbines for electric power, docked in New York City, where she was welcomed by a flotilla of 17 sailboats, each representing one of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).The young environmental advocate has gained media attention since waging a "school strike" for climate action last August.

SUGGESTED READING

  • The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural Historyby Elizabeth Kolbert

    • Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

    • One of New York Times Book Reviews 10 Best Books of the Year

  • The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells


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


LATEST REPORT: March 2019

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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·  Climate Change. 

NYT 1/31/2019 “Why is the Cold Weather So Extreme if the Earth is Warming?” As climate change heats up the planet, winters are warming faster than summers. But during periods of extremely cold weather, many people wonder, “If the Earth is getting warmer, how can winter still be so cold?” President Trump raises this question frequently. In the beautiful Midwest, windchill temperatures are reaching minus 60 degrees, the coldest ever recorded. In coming days, expected to get even colder. People can’t last outside even for minutes. What is going on with Global Warming?

So, how can the temperature still tumble so low? The answer lies the difference between local weather and climate.  Climate refers to how the atmosphere acts over a long period of time, while weather describes what’s happening on a much shorter time scale. The climate can be thought of, in a way, as the sum of long periods of weather.

Or, to use an analogy Mr. Trump might appreciate, weather is how much money you have in your pocket today, whereas climate is your net worth. A billionaire who has forgotten his wallet one day is not poor, any more than a poor person who lands a windfall of several hundred dollars is suddenly rich. What matters is what happens over the long term ……..

Read the entire article:  https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/climate/winter-cold-weather.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fclimate&action=click&contentCollection=climate&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=2&pgtype=sectionfront 

World Environmental Day.  June 5. This is not a public holiday, but rather an environmental awareness day run by the United Nations. This year the focus is ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’, and the press and media are already gearing up for this by reporting on events and efforts to reduce plastic pollution.  India hosts the campaign this year; Canada hosted last year.

Teen Climate Activist Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize. Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish activist,   has been recognized for her pleas to world leaders and galvanizing students to act on climate change.

U.S.  National ISSUES

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

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Artic Drilling Ban Restored.  Federal Judge overturned Trump order, restoring Obama-era Order banning offshore drilling in the artic. Judge Sharon Gleason ruled that Presidents have the power under a federal law to remove certain lands from development but cannot revoke those removals. The ban therefore is only revocable by an act of Congress.  The American Petroleum Institute, a defendant in the case, disagreed with the ruling.

REGIONAL ISSUES

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LWV Jo Daviess County

LWVJDC collected water samples from 6 area springs and found microplastic contamination is getting into the ground water. Plastic is the most prevalent type of marine debris found in our ocean and Great Lakes. Plastic debris can come in all shapes and sizes, but those that are less than five millimeters in length (or about the size of a sesame seed) are called “microplastics.”

LWVIL 2019 Issues Briefing

o   Getting the Lead Out: Illinois Drinking Water (David G. Mueller, Esq. Guscott Mueller Law, LLC and Jennifer Walling, Ex. Dir. Illinois Environmental Counsel)

IL P.A. 99-0922 this new IL law addresses Flint, MI** type water threats to lead contamination in potable water in 4 principle ways by requiring:

1.     Testing for lead in schools (pre-K thru 5) and notification of parents of elevated lead levels

2.     New rules for testing daycare facilities

3.     Community water systems to create a comprehensive lead service line inventory and report to the IEPA (Illinois EPA).  (IL Dept. of Public Health approved a timeline for submitting service line inventory for community water systems no later than 1/01/25.)

4.     Committee to provide enhanced notice to residents of construction and repairs impacting water distribution systems and associated mitigation measures

**In 2014 widespread contamination of Flint water supply discovered after Flint changed source to Flint River in place of Lake Huron and failed to treat and provide corrosion control to prevent leaching of lead from old service lines in the water distribution system (Flint River 19X more corrosive then Lake Huron).

There is no safe level of lead in drinking water!

Climate. Environmental groups organizing around Illinois to focus on the next round of environmental advocacy.  “Clean Energy Jobs Coalition” regrouped and organized into the “Illinois Climate Action Table” to listen and develop future action to garner broad public support.  Whether LWVIL joins this group and works with them is to be determined.

Air Quality & Energy.  LWVIL monitoring 3 key IL bills that refine the Future Jobs Act:

§  Solar Pollinators.  Directs U of I Dept. of Entomology to create standards to define pollinator-friendly solar projects within the state

§  Solar Projects Uniform Assessments creates uniform standards for county assessors across the state to use when assessing value of solar projects.

§  Solar Agricultural Impact Mitigation Act.  Similar to Wind Energy Act, sets standards for solar projects to protect agricultural interests.

Pesticidess LWVIL voiced opposition to provision in Federal Farm Bill that will diminish federal regulatory standards governing the use of pesticide by relegating to oversite and use directly to the states.

Anticipated 2019 Issues:

§  Federal Deregulation and Reliance on individual states for environmental protection.

§  Pre-emption and Lowering of Standards of state and local regulations to create lowest common denominator of protection

§  Transportation Infrastructure

Foxconn There are many conflicting stories in the news leading to confusion and uncertainty as to whether manufacturing of LCD screens and the proposed daily removal of 7 million gallons of water will actually take place.  Foxconn recently communicated that it would be economically unfeasible to proceed with the plant.  Donald Trump intervened with a phone call and the production of the plant is back on the table.  According to the Wall Street Journal, Foxconn has a history of bait and switch and changes plans after commitments are made.  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Foxconn has made plans for, and then abandoned, plants in Pennsylvania, Brazil and Vietnam.  The project still seems to be in a state of flux and lawsuits suing the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources addressing the proposed water diversion should put the plant on hold.

IEPA Appointments Jim Kim* will serve as the Director of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA). Under the Rauner administration referrals to the IEPA to below 100 a year from 200/300 cases a year under prior administrations.  Various environmental groups expressed concern that the IEPA neglected its watch role.  The IEPA suffered multiple cutbacks of staff and funding.  In campaign promises JD Pritzer vowed to prioritize strengthening and rebuilding Illinois agencies to protect the environment including the IEPA and the Illinois Environmental Justice Commission. The administration promised to support the IEPA and other environmental agencies to thwart actions and rollbacks by the US EPA to ensure that progress is made for clean air, land and water for Illinois residents.

* Kim has served in many senior roles during 25 years at the department under five governors of both parties. Kim previously served as director, interim director, ethics officer, deputy general counsel, assistant counsel/special assistant attorney general, and project manager for an IEPA-China pollution prevention project. Kim left the IEPA for just over a year to serve as acting general counsel of the Illinois Department of Agriculture in 2008 and 2009. Before joining IEPA, Kim was an Assistant Attorney General of Illinois and was the general counsel to the Midwest Environmental Enforcement Association.

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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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


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.