Environment

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Northwestern University will be taking additional steps to ensure its campus buildings are bird friendly. University officials say the school is working with experts from the American Bird Conservancy to keep birds from crashing into glass walls and windows.

A former Wisconsin state regulator has been named chief of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's regional office in Chicago.

A wide-ranging Great Lakes cleanup program would receive $300 million next year under a spending bill approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The City of Dubuque is broadening its efforts to become more sustainable. The city council has created a new Resilient Community Advisory Commission with nine members.

Michelle O'Neill reports it replaces the the city's Environmental Stewardship Advisory Commission.

Summary

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A new poll on the environment from the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute is surprising even to environmentalists. According to a survey of one thousand registered voters completed earlier this month, 64% ranked the environment as a more important issue than economic growth.

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BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) - McLean County residents and businesses dumped much more garbage in 2014 over a year earlier - waste that goes to a landfill that could be full in fewer than two years. Ecology Action Center reports garbage collection increased 16 percent in 2014, to 226,000 tons. 

ELM set for loan from Peoria County

Oct 24, 2014

Peoria County is poised to loan an environmental tech company $2.5 million to expand its footprint. ELM, LLC has more than 800 employees in 16 states.  It also makes air treatment systems for plants and builds large containers to ship natural gas.  Lee Graves is the CEO of ELM.  He says Peoria County’s loan will also help the company add to its workforce in addition to helping fund its product line:

IL greenhouse gas reduction plan continues

Sep 30, 2014

Illinois regulators are continuing to develop a plan to reduce the state's output of greenhouse gasses. Environmentalists say they have Governor Pat Quinn to thank. Or do they?

A coalition made of labor unions, the oil industry and business groups has been clamoring for the state to hurry and create rules that will allow drillers to begin high-volume hydraulic fracturing in Illinois.  

Petcoke company makes changes after violations

Jun 10, 2014

A company that handles thousands of tons of pet coke plans to invest millions of dollars to keep it from becoming airborne. 

Officials worried about bald eagle lead poisoning

Jun 10, 2014

Federal wildlife officials are worried about eagles dying from eating particles of lead from bullets used to kill deer. Ed Britton is the District Manager of the Savanna District of the Upper Mississippi River US Wildlife and Fish Refuge.

 

As Democrats in coal states rush to distance themselves from new federal regulations intended to address global warming -- Senator Dick Durbin says Illinois is in a good position among coal-producing states. 

Area labor and environmental groups both see the need to grow sustainable energy markets in Illinois.  The question seems to be the best way to make the transition.  Both groups met in Peoria Wednesday during a meeting hosted by State Senator Dave Koehler and Representative Jehan Gordon.  Koehler says it’s positive to have both groups talk about ways to keep or grow new jobs during the transition to wind, solar and other forms of clean energy:

There are 90 aging coal ash pits in Illinois — piles of slag left behind when coal is burned for energy, most often electricity. Environmental groups are asking for tougher state regulations on coal-burning power companies now that coal ash residue is starting to show up in the water supply.

State board denies emergency petcoke rules

Jan 23, 2014

A major setback to the state of Illinois over the handling and storage of petroleum coke, or petcoke.  

First meeting held on ‘fracking’ in Illinois

Nov 26, 2013

Illinois is holding its first public meeting on potential new "fracking" regulations.  Anyone interested is invited to comment at a meeting Tuesday in Chicago. 

Whitenose Syndrome has devastated bat populations across the U.S.  Now a researcher is hoping to answer some lingering questions about the disease by looking at bats in western Illinois.  IPR’s Scott Stuntz reports:

The State Pollution Control Board should reject a request to extend the timeline for pollution controls at a Bartonville coal plant.  That’s the message from local and state environmental groups for the Edwards coal-plant in Bartonville.  Houston-based power producer Dynegy is buying five Illinois coal plants from Ameren, including the Edwards facility.  Kady McFadden is with the Sierra Club.  She says the federal EPA designated the air quality around the plant below healthy levels:

A federal court has ordered the US EPA to more strictly regulate a form of pollution from coal fired power plants.  It’s a move environmental groups say is a long time in coming, as IPR’s Scott Stuntz reports:

IL fracking registration begins for companies

Oct 3, 2013

It'll likely be next year before oil and gas companies looking to "frack" in Illinois can begin. But the registration process is underway.

Area environmental groups say a national report draws attention to Ameren Energy Resources’ coal plant in Bartonville.

Making household hazardous waste events easier

Jun 6, 2013

There's a push in Springfield to create a fund that would make it easier for communities to hold household hazardous waste events, similar to the hugely-successful one in Bloomington-Normal last fall. Walter Willis of Hampshire heads up the Illinois Chapter of the Solid Waste Association of North America. He says his group has lobbied for the Paint Stewardship Law, which would develop a revenue stream through the sale of paint products that could fund community-wide events.

Environmental groups filed a lawsuit against Ameren Energy Resources for alleged air pollution violations at the Edwards coal plant in Bartonville.  The Sierra Club, National Resources Defense Council and other groups filed the lawsuit in federal court.  They say the plant violated the Clean Air Act more than 1,000 times in the last five years.  Kady McFadden is with the Sierra Club.  She says the lawsuit is seeking better pollution controls at the plant:

A coalition of environmental groups accuse other advocates of selling out when it comes to the drilling technique known as "hydraulic fracturing."  IPR’s Amanda Vinicky has more.  

 Environmentalists have warned of the dangers of "fracking" - a process that extracts natural gas or oil by pumping millions of gallons of water and chemicals deep underground.That's why it was a big deal a couple weeks ago that the Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council stood with business leaders to announce they'd reached an agreement that could pave the way for fracking in Illinois.

Groups reach fracking agreement in Illinois

Feb 21, 2013

Environmentalists and business groups have reached an agreement that paves the way for "fracking" in Illinois. IPR's Brian Mackey has more on Thursday's announcement.  

It was an unusual sight: supporters of the oil and gas industry sharing a podium with environmental activists. They've agreed on legislation that would regulate the oil and gas extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing or "fracking."

Jack Darin, with the Illinois chapter of the Sierra Club, says fracking is coming to Illinois, so it's better to compromise on new rules than to do nothing.