With decreased funding and regulatory attacks from Trump/Rauner it is imperative that the environment be protected at this time.
IL needs to join the United States Climate Alliance to pledge compliance with the 2015 Paris Agreement. While the Governor has stated that we will comply with the Paris Agreement he has refused to join the Alliance. Much more troubling is his EPA’s recent push to ease IL rules for coal plants. The proposal is being made to benefit Dynegy Inc that operates coal plants in central and southern IL. It would allow some plants that are quite old (and evidently not worth making proper environmental improvements to) to keep operating while polluting at levels that are higher than what was previously allowed. The pollution from these plants can drift to Chicago and downwind destinations as far away as New York. Lest you think the amounts are insignificant, the amount of CO2 generated by all eight of their plants would equal the amount generated by 6 million autos (more than on the roads in Chicago).
Other Energy Sources
IL must encourage movements to solar and wind. Solar costs have dropped dramatically and community solar energy should be encouraged. Somewhat surprisingly, nuclear plants account for 53% of the electricity generated in IL, which is the highest percentage in the nation (and accounts for about 1/8th of US nuclear energy produced). I support the use of nuclear energy for the foreseeable future (until other sources are available) but the safety of our plants has to continue to be monitored and maintained. A huge problem is that IL has become the nation’s largest nuclear waste dump. If the US Congress does not soon allow a deep mountain site such as the one long proposed in Yucca Mountain in Nevada, we must make sure that our waste here is secure and safe. I would also support IL compliance with the federal legislation introduced by Jan Schakowsky (called the “OFF Act”) to get our country off fossil fuels by 2035.
The National Wildlife Federation has reported that a 64 year old pipeline located at the north end of Lake Michigan is in poor condition and has suffered numerous leaks already. The pipeline delivers vast amounts of oil to the Midwest (more than the Dakota Pipeline) and the five mile stretch that laying on top of the lake bed at the Straits of Mackinaw is of the greatest of concern. Though the petroleum industry says that it is safe, many disagree, and in the event of a substantial leak there the environmental damages would be devastating to the entire Lake Michigan coastline (and therefore our drinking water). A second very important issue for our Lake was that the Asian Carp was detected in the Calumet River recently just nine miles from Lake MI. Rauner has opposed the U S Army Corp of Engineers plan to keep the fish out of the Lake due to its cost, but if this type of fish does arrive it is expected to have devastating effects on the ecosystem and the fishing industry, and may speculate other worse consequences.