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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:58pm
Thu Jan 14, 2016

EPA Climate Regs To Be 'Big Fight' In State Legislatures This Year

As 2016 state legislative sessions gear up across the country, including in Illinois, expect new environmental regulations outlined under the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan to be a key issue debated in the nation's state houses this year.

The Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan, finalized in August, looks to slash carbon emissions from existing U.S. power plants. The goal is to reduce carbon emissions from the power sector to 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

States, which are given flexibility to meet the plan's carbon pollution standards, have to submit an implementation plan or request an extension by September.

"There's a range of actions that states will be considering to address the rule, including cap and trade, carbon taxes, renewable portfolio standards, scaling up solar energy use, amongst other things," said Nick Rathod, executive director of the State Innovation Exchange (SiX), a group working with state legislators to advance progressive policies across the country.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
3:54pm
Wed Sep 17, 2014

Is Bob Dold A Friend Of The Environment?

Although former one-term congressman Bob Dold, the Republican candidate in the competitive 10th congressional district race, claims to have a "strong record of protecting the Great Lakes and the environment," his critics aren't convinced. Progress Illinois takes a look at the environmental voting records of both Dold and incumbent Democratic Rep. Brad Schneider.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
5:40pm
Thu Aug 28, 2014

Study: Businesses In Low-Income, Majority Minority Areas Struggle To Access Credit

Small businesses in low-income, majority minority neighborhood in the Chicago area were less likely to receive loans between 2008 and 2012, according to a new report by the Woodstock Institute.

On average, about two of every seven businesses in low-income, majority minority areas received small business loans—including business credit cards, lines of credit, and traditional loans of under $1 million—from large financial institutions with assets of more than $1 billion, according to the report, “Dis-Credited: Disparate Access to Credit for Businesses in the Chicago Six County Region.”

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
7:32pm
Wed Jul 2, 2014

Report: 10 Percent Of Illinois Beach Water Samples Have Unsafe Bacteria Levels

Hitting the beach this Fourth of July holiday?

A recent report from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) suggests that swimmers take precautions to avoid getting sick from beach water that might be contaminated.

The NRDC's annual "Testing the Waters" report showed that 10 percent of water samples taken last year from 49 monitored Illinois coastal beaches and beach segments — all located in Cook and Lake counties — tested positive for high levels of bacteria from human or animal waste.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:09pm
Tue Jul 1, 2014

Lake County Environmental Coalition Sends Petitions To NRG Energy Over Future Of Waukegan Coal Plant (VIDEO) (UPDATED)

Lake County residents and environmentalists are asking the new owner of Waukegan’s aging coal-fired power plant to produce a long-term transition plan for the facility in collaboration with local community stakeholders.

Toting signs reading "Clean air wins" and "It's time for a clean and healthy lakefront," about 25 members of the Clean Power Lake County Campaign mailed more than 2,500 petition postcards on Tuesday to New Jersey-based NRG Energy Inc. The petition calls on the company to set a retirement date for the 90 year-old Waukegan plant, located on the city's lakefront, and make investments in clean energy projects that will hire local workers. A transition plan for the outdated plant should also consider the city of Waukegan's tax base as well as those currently employed at the site, the petition states. 

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:16pm
Fri Jan 24, 2014

Schneider, Jobless Illinoisans Urge Congress To Extend Emergency Unemployment Insurance

    The notion that unemployment benefits are a disincentive to look for work is both false and misguided, U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL,10) said at a discussion Friday in Lake County about the need to extend emergency unemployment insurance.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
11:39am
Wed Dec 4, 2013

RTA Far From Achieving "World-Class" Public Transit System, Experts Say

The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) has a lot of work to do if the northeastern Illinois public transit network it oversees plans on becoming a "world-class system" anytime soon, panelists said at a discussion on the topic Tuesday at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).

The RTA is the oversight agency for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra and Pace, covering Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties. The agency was created in 1974 and was reformed in 1983 and 2008.

Stephen Schlickman, who served as RTA's executive director from 2005 to 2010 and currently heads up UIC's Urban Transportation Center, said RTA's multi-agency structure "isn’t working as well as it should be." He noted that regional public transit systems in other U.S. metro areas are typically organized as one agency. The region's current transit structure has four governing boards, for the RTA, CTA, Metra and Pace, with 47 members.

"There is a serious lack of accountability when you have such a complex structure," he stressed. "We have complexities, not only in governance, but also in service overlap, in capital planning and programming, in the equities in the allocation of our finances. These topics defy public understanding."

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