Natural Resources/The Environment
Local Issues Director: Bonnie Gahris, 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: May 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
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
2018 One Earth Film Festival - On March 4, at Elmhurst College, viewed “Happening, A Clean Energy Revolution” by James Redford. Main thoughts from film are that solar and thermal have no emissions; 25-30% of current grids could sustain renewables. U.S. Dept. of Defense is largest user of fossil fuels in the world and they are using microgrids. To be 100% renewable, however, we need STORAGE!
According to their on-line Newsroom, “Dunkin’ Donuts to Eliminate Foam Cups Worldwide in 2020.” As part of its commitment to serve both people and the planet responsibly ... (Dunkin’ Donuts) today announced plans to eliminate all polysterene foam cups in its global supply chain beginning in Spring 2018.
U.S. National ISSUES
Scott Pruitt is dismantling environmental protections to help out his industry friends. Newly released emails document Pruitt's long history of coziness with industry polluters. The biggest scandal of all is Pruitt's willingness to sell out our climate's future and our clean air and water to funnel money back to his corporate cronies.
The Citizen’s Climate Lobby is writing to U.S. Representative Roskam asking him to make a public statement about the need to address climate change.
The Inter-League Organizations of Lake Michigan Region and Upper Mississippi River Region have announced their annual meetings/luncheons on Wed., June 27 in Chicago, the day before the LWVUS convention. There will be a Water Advocacy Workshop at 2 p.m. GE League members Alix Darrow and Bonnie Gahris plan to attend.
STATE ISSUES FOR ILLINOIS
REPORT ON ENVIRONMENTAL LOBBY DAY, APRIL 25-26, 2018 Illinois Environmental Council, Faith In Place and Illinois Sierra Club train on how to lobby and meet with legislators in Springfield
We were part of a contingent of organizations meeting on April 25 & 26 to learn how to lobby our State Senators and Representatives. There were six Lobby Day Priorities (Bills) coming up before the Illinois legislature. Our team had a very productive meeting with Senator Chris Nybo. However, our meeting with Rep. Breen was very brief and not productive. Here are the Bills:
Clean Energy – Fight Against Taxpayer-funded Coal Bailouts – Say NO to HB4285/SB2250. Illinois should prioritize clean energy and the success of the Future Energy Jobs Act. Legislators should oppose an effort by Dynegy to raise rates on families and small businesses in Central and Southern Illinois which would keep these dirty coal-fired power plants open. RESULT OF MEETING WITH NYBO: Bill not going anywhere as it is very unpopular, according to Sen. Nybo.
Oppose Weakening of Endangered Species Board – Vote NO on HB5293. This legislation jeopardizes endangered species by weakening the expert composition of the Endangered Species Protection Board, by designating two seats to special interests. It also would remove ability of IDNR to permit incidental taking of federal species, tying state to wildlife protection rollbacks made by the federal government. RESULT OF MEETING WITH NYBO: Sen. Nybo supports. Bill has since been re-referred to Rules Committee.
Environmental Protection – Stop Federal Rollbacks of Environment and worker safety laws – SB2213 (Biss). This bill aims to preserve the status quo for Illinois’ current safeguards at this time of great uncertainty at the federal level. The Illinois Baseline Protection Act would prevent the weakening of any current Illinois standard below the federal standard already in place. RESULT OF MEETING WITH NYBO: Sen. Nybo was undecided, but maybe yes. Bill has since been assigned to Environment.
Clean Water – Providing Clean Water for All – HB5044 (Unes) /SB3080 (Steans) It is estimated that 1/8 of all lead service lines in the country are found here in Illinois. This bill would require municipalities and private water utilities to replace all lead service lines in 10 years, with a focus on high priority areas and sound water infrastructure practices. In addition, this bill helps reduce the long-term costs of providing water service, by requiring proactive maintenance, repair, and replacement of system components that are costing consumers substantial money. RESULT OF MEETING WITH NYBO: Initially said No, preferring remediation. Later agreed to be a Co-Sponsor. Bill now in Rules Committee.
Conservation – Standing for Justice – HB5119 (Andersson) / SB3005 (Raoul). Through an appellate court decision in 2010, neighbors to a livestock operation did not have standing to challenge the improper issuance of a permit. Several other decisions since this one have ruled that citizens do not have standing to challenge improperly issued permits to polluting facilities. This bill amends the Illinois Administrative Review Act with regard to certain environmental permits to give impacted citizens standing to have their day in court to protect their health, property and other interests. RESULT OF MEETING WITH NYBO: Was undecided. Bill has since been re-referred to Rules Committee.
Voting Reform – Voter Access and Education in Illinois Jails – HB4469 (Stratton). HB 4469 turns Cook County Jail into a temporary polling location. It also encourages smaller jails across the state to establish an absentee ballot distribution and collection process. HB4469 ensures voter registration forms are available at all Department of Correction facilities and that a “know your voting rights” pamphlet is given to everyone
released as part of a re-entry process. Folks who are released will also receive a voter registration form to ensure they are added back to the voter rolls. RESULT OF MEETING WITH NYBO: He supports. Bill has been assigned to Executive.
We also visited offices of Representatives Carol Conroy and Patty Bellock. Even though we didn’t get to personally meet them, we left letters asking Rep to vote No or to Support several bills. Earlier, was able to thank Sen. Nybo for voting in favor of the Equal Rights Amendment.
DUPAGE COUNTY ISSUES
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
Sent note to Representative Peter Roskam, on behalf of the Citizen’s Climate Lobby. Discussed how the U.S. military’s infrastructure has been affected by extreme weather and other climate-related risks, per a January 2018 Pentagon report. Asked Rep. Roskam to make a public statement that Congress needs to do more to address climate change.
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 Bonnie Gahris
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.