More than 400 Sierrans came to Chicago (photo gallery), met with EPA, and kicked the coal ash industry's arguments to the curb. EPA came to town for one of 6 public hearings on a new rule to regulate coal ash. From contaminated wells in Will County to toxic dust in Washington County coal ash is one of the dirty, toxic secrets of the coal industry. As we burn coal we break the chemical bonds between carbon and several heavy metals. The carbon goes up into the atmosphere (hence that little problem we call global warming) and the heavy metals that have serious health impacts remain concentrated in the ash. Some of the ash is used in concrete and other materials, but much of it either sits wet in unlined ponds where it can contaminate groundwater, or dries in piles where it is carried far and wide. Thanks to those that testified (especially if you were in that 11:50 pm time slot). If you couldn't make it in person you can still be part of the action by sending in your comment today.
Illinois' future got brighter August 17, 2010, when Governor Quinn signed our solar bills HB 6202 and HB 5429 into law. House Bill 6202 requires Illinois' regulated utilities to start buying some electricity from solar power plants starting in 2012, with steadily increasing amounts until 2015, when 6% of renewable energy purchases must come from solar power plants. By creating a stable market solar industries will be willing to invest in Illinois and as a result 5000 new jobs are expected to be created in the state.
House Bill 5429 or the Solar Bill of Rights removes barriers by homeowner and condo associations to placing solar panels on your roof. Removing those barriers is key to the future of solar, as installing small units on homes, businesses and reducing electricity losses through transmission are the areas for the greatest potential growth in the solar sector.
Illinois Sierrans pulled out all the stops to help get these bills passed. You visited and called legislators or took action through previous Prairie State Protectors. Consequently, we are one step closer to transitioning from the dirty fuels of the past. Thank you for being part of this victory for Illinois' energy future.
five years of effort, the dream of the Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge is moving closer to reality. Staff members from the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service will be hosting four public meetings this October to seek
input from local residents and user groups on the