Environment

Dana Vollmer / Peoria Public Radio

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's regional director of environmental justice met with community members at Mount Zion Baptist Church last night, after touring pollution sites through out Peoria.

Sarah Scott / Peoria Public Radio

A snow removal expert says it is important for plow drivers to use the least amount of salt possible on the roadways to limit environmental impacts. 

Mark DeVries was the keynote speaker at the Snow and Ice Workshop in East Peoria for public works employees on Tuesday. He said once salt gets into the water system, it can have some serious impacts.

“So no matter what we’re using, we want to use only what we need in winter maintenance," he said.  

Vinoth Chandar / Flickr / CC-by 2.0

Data compiled by a non-profit environmental advocacy organization shows different sources of tap water face different challenges in keeping it clean.

weak_hope / Flickr/Creative Commons

Four Central Illinois coal plants and a southern Illinois coal mine are slated to close by year’s end.

Environmental advocates say the Clean Energy Jobs Act would create new programs to help workers and communities impacted by the coal facility closures. And they say movement on the legislation is needed now. 

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said earlier this month he does not expect action on the legislation during this year’s veto session. 

But State Rep. Rita Mayfield (D-Waukegan) says that is unacceptable. 

Illinois Sierra Club

A coalition of environmental groups and the owners of the E.D. Edwards coal-burning power plant have filed a consent decree in federal court that would close the plant by the end of 2022.

The decree was jointly filed in the Central District of Illinois in Peoria on Tuesday. It was first announced by Illinois Power Resources Generating and the environmental groups led by the Natural Resources Defense Council last month. 

City of Peoria

The 19th-century railroad turntable at Peoria’s Riverfront Park may soon go to a new home. 

The Monticello Railway Museum in east-Central Illinois wants to use the historic turntable as part of its functional railroad. 

“We are now looking at developing more comprehensive plans for the Riverfront Park, Bridge to Bridge and beyond. And it just doubled up, like we should make sure this goes into productive use," said Assistant City Manager Deborah Roethler. 

Connie Kuntz / WNIJ

Nearly 3 billion birds have been lost in North America since 1970. That’s according to a report published last month in Science Magazine. The finding has disturbed bird lovers across the globe.

Tim Shelley / WCBU

Activists from across the world are protesting today in an effort to drive governments to address climate change.

U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood (R-Peoria) is calling for federal regulators to scrutinize the closure of four coal-burning power plants in Central Illinois.

Rules adopted by the state earlier this year required Vistra Energy to cut 2,000 megawatts of power generation in Illinois to be in compliance.

The Texas energy company announced it close power plants in Havana, Canton, Hennepin and Coffeen by the end of this year, pending regulatory approval. 

WCBU

The E.D. Edwards coal power plant in Bartonville would close in 2022 as part of the settlement of a 2013 lawsuit filed by several environmental groups. 

The Clean Air Act lawsuit was filed by the Natural Resources Defenses Council, Sierra Club, and Respiratory Health Association. The suit alleged the Bartonville plant repeatedly violated opacity standards for smoke, particularite matter limits, and federal reporting requirements. 

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul's office has reached an $850,000 settlement with a LaSalle County chemical company that dumped thousands of pounds of a likely carcinogen near the Illinois River. 

Tim Shelley / WCBU

A small but vocal group of local residents came out Tuesday to offer their input to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency on new coal ash regulations.

IDNR

A Mason County tree nursery is taking a lead role in the effort to protect monarch butterflies and Rusty Patched bumblebees. 

Corrado Matteoni / CC BY-NC 2.0 / Flickr

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

Flickr Creative Commons/synspectrum

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.

Justin Ritchie / Flickr

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:

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