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Natural resources
PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
1:16pm
Fri Oct 17, 2014

Chicago Hosts U.S.-Canada Energy Summit; Cook County Board Opposes Canadian Nuclear Dump

Canada's minister of natural resources is in Chicago this week to talk U.S.-Canada energy policy. Progress Illinois provides highlights from the minister's keynote address and takes a look at a controversial proposal to build a nuclear waste disposal facility in Canada near Lake Huron's shore. The Cook County Board passed a resolution last week against the Canadian nuclear dump.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:57pm
Thu Mar 27, 2014

Illinois Lawmakers Wage Fight Against Water-Polluting Agents In Cosmetic Products; BP Oil Spill Clean Up Continues (UPDATED)

An extremely small plastic pollutant poses a big threat to the health of the Great Lakes and the state's environment. And some Illinois lawmakers are looking to take action against the problem.

At issue are the super-tiny plastic beads used in hundreds of personal cosmetic products like facial wash, body scrubs and even toothpaste. According to scientists, tens of millions of these little plastic particles have made their way into the Great Lakes.

The cosmetic microbeads, which are less than 5 millimeters in size and commonly used to help with exfoliation, often get washed down household drains. Because the plastic beads are so small, they are not captured during the water treatment process, allowing them to get into waterways.

"There's no way to recover those materials once they're out in open waters," said Olga Lyandres, research manager at the Alliance for the Great Lakes. "Once they enter the environment, they stay there."

Quick Hit
by
3:32pm
Wed Mar 26, 2014

OP-ED: BP's Lake Michigan Oil Spill: More Mess And Less Transparency From The Refinery Chicagoans Love To Hate

The following is written by Henry Henderson, director of the Midwest Program for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Ask any Chicagoan and they’ll tell you that Lake Michigan is a big part of what makes this town great. So, perhaps this is what makes BP’s nearby refinery in Whiting, IN so reviled.

The week of the Exxon Valdez disaster anniversary and a week after the Council of Canadians released a report highlighting the threat that tar sands oil imposes on the Great Lakes, BP did what it always does: crapped up Lake Michigan.

Yesterday, an undetermined amount of oil made its way into the refinery’s water treatment unit and was dumped into the Lake, mucking a half mile of shoreline with waxy residue.

That’s the same water treatment unit that was venting the carcinogen benzene directly into the air… Which is just one of many controversies that have emanated from this gargantuan facility perched just a few miles down the Lakeshore from Chicago, in the midst of densely populated Northwest Indiana.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:29pm
Tue Feb 18, 2014

Obama's Former Energy Chief Talks Cap & Trade, Disappointing Energy Efficiency Standards

Steven Chu, former secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, said the 2009 landmark climate and energy bill that would have set up a cap-and-trade system got too complicated, which contributed to its downfall in Congress.

The mammoth bill was designed to address climate change and limit carbon emissions by placing a cap on greenhouse emissions, among other provisions. Essentially, companies that emit greenhouse gases would have had to comply with emission limits or be required to buy or trade credits to continue polluting. The measure, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, narrowly passed the House in June 2009 but it died in the Senate.

"The House bill got way too complicated," Chu said at a discussion Thursday night at the University of Chicago. "They let all the special interest(s) …make an 800 page bill to make little advantages here and there, and that just was wrong."

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
10:55am
Mon Oct 21, 2013

Protesters Demand That No Fracking Permits Be Issued In Illinois (VIDEO)

Less than one month after the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) opened registration for individuals and firms interested in applying for hydraulic fracturing permits, a group of protesters gathered in Chicago on Friday to say they don’t want the oil and gas drilling technology in their state.

“We want Marc Miller and all of the people at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to be sure they hear our message,” said Jessica Fujan, an organizer with Food & Water Watch. “There is no such thing as safe fracking. For our water, for our air, for our farmers and for our future, we want to ban fracking now.”

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
3:30pm
Fri Mar 22, 2013

Environmentalists Urge State Lawmakers To Support Fracking Moratorium (VIDEO)

Environmentalists and public health advocates at today’s demonstration against fracking at the Thompson Center say the Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act, which has earned the support of Gov. Pat Quinn, doesn’t go far enough to protect the environment or ground and drinking water. Progress Illinois was there to learn more about why they are calling for a two-year fracking moratorium.

PI Original
by Steven Ross Johnson
5:18pm
Mon Nov 19, 2012

Illinois Revenue Projections, Allocation Procedures Need Revamping, Report Finds

A new report from the governor’s advisory commission on improving the state’s budget process is calling on lawmakers to find a more accurate way of estimating how much revenue the state takes in, and become more flexible when it comes to how those funds are allocated.