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Illinois Chapter Newsletter

ninjaKicking Coal Ash and Taking Names

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.

Our Future's So Bright, We Gotta Wear Shades Solar Bill Signing

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.

Nippersink_Creek Dreaming A Reality

After nearly 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 potential refuge.

The meetings will utilize an open format allowing members of the public to spend one-on-one time with service staff members to answer questions, offer comments and provide ideas about the refuge. Two Illinois meetings will occur at the McHenry County Government Center Administration Building at 667 Ware St, Woodstock IL (map) on October 12 and Lost Valley Visitor Center in Glacial Park (Harts Rd. & Rt. 31, Ringwood IL) (map) on October 13. Two Wisconsin meetings will be held but dates and locations have yet to be announced.

The open houses will be held from 4-8 p.m. If you are unable to attend one of the public meetings, you can still be part of the dream for a new refuge, by submitting a comment.

 

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Charlie Kubert
In Memoriam: Charlie Kubert

We mourn the loss of our friend, colleague and fellow outdoorsman.

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