Illinois' energy efficiency building codes require that new buildings built in Illinois meet certain standards of efficiency. These measures have saved new homeowners and building owners thousands of dollars in energy costs by reducing energy usage.
Last year, the environmental community worked with home builders to agree to minor changes to the bill that would make the codes more workable for home builders. Despite this good faith effort last year, the home builders are back and are trying to repeal the automatic update provision in the bill. The automatic update provision is one of the strongest provisions in this bill. This assures that Illinois' energy efficiency code for homes is always up to date with the latest technology.
HB1331 was rushed through the House Energy Committee and may be up for third reading at any time this week.
Please write to your legislator to oppose this legislation. Personalize the letter - especially the subject - with your thoughts and experiences with at home energy efficiency.
Act Now! Call your State Representative and ask them to Co-sponsor and Support H.B. 2335 and H.B. 3319
On Thursday, March 21st, the Illinois House of Representatives Environment Committee will be considering two pieces of legislation that will remove barriers for Illinois rural and urban farmers and gardeners to compost and we need your help to make sure they pass out of committee.
H.B. 3319 - Rural Composting (Representative Brad Halbrook) increases the type of materials that farmers can compost on farm as part of an on farm compost permit exemption that already exists. H.B. 2335 - Urban Composting - Representative Robyn Gabel will allow urban and suburban farms to have a similar but limited exemption for composting on farm. Currently, Illinois Environmental law that pertains to composting fits into the one-size-fits all category, the laws are designed to regulate large scale commercial operations with little thought regarding the realities of urban farming, community gardens and sustainable agriculture. These bill will create scale appropriate laws for composting and open new opportunities for urban and rural agricultural operations to compost on their farm or garden and create high quality compost to grow crops.
H.B. 3319 will allow farmers in rural areas to compost crop residue and other organic agricultural materials from other farms. This simple change will give farmers access to new materials to create high quality compost.
H.B. 2335 will allow urban farms and gardens to compost off-site materials on up to 2% of their property. Many farms in urban areas do not have enough soil to grow high quality local food. This will give urban farmers the ability to create their own high quality compost.
Please personalize this letter as much as possible, including your organization, if applicable, and your stories or experiences with farming, gardening, compost, and local food. Personalizing the subject and adding your story makes these letters much more effective.
For more than 40 years,
In 2005, the law was changed to cover only landowners who make their land available for hunting and recreational shooting. It eliminated protection to landowners who opened their property to the public for all other activities.
Openlands and nearly 100 supporting organizations have been working to restore these protections for seven years. This year, Senator Harmon has introduced SB1042 Amendment 1 and is working with all sides to come up with a solution to this problem. There are a huge number of new legislators who need to be educated on this issue.
Please send the e-mail below and be sure to personalize! Change the subject line and also start the e-mail by describing your personal experience with outdoor recreation and why you support improved access to outdoor recreation opportunities on private lands.
Illinois has an immediate opportunity to generate strong, long term economic growth by capitalizing on clean energy production, harnessing renewable energy over the next 13 years. In 2007, the state passed visionary legislation establishing the Illinois Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), a path to ensure 25 percent of our energy would come from clean sources by 2025. This was one of the strongest RPS programs in the nation and to date has had positive results:
- $4.16 billion total economic boost over the life of the projects
- $22.2 million in new, annual property taxes (70 percent of which goes to local school districts)
- $10.23 million annual lease payments for Illinois farmers & landowners
- Approximately 13,323 full-time equivalent jobs during construction periods with a total payroll of over $762 million
- Approximately 598 permanent jobs in rural Illinois areas with a total annual payroll of over $35 million
However, the program has unexpectedly stalled due to implementation challenges with the increase in municipal aggregation and investments in renewable energy will not resume until 2018. This poses a great financial loss and missed opportunity unless we adjust to current market realities.
There is an easy fix for this situation. Currently, RPS compliance is met through different methods for customers that buy power from utilities or ARES, which creates separate and constantly changing funding buckets. By moving the compliance payment to the distribution side of the bill, where customer number and load are constant and predictable, the three buckets are combined into one. As a result, the Illinois Power Agency will have a predictable and reliable fund to continue procure renewable energy and invest in a clean energy future as initially intended by the RPS.
Currently, SB103 and HB2864 contains a proposal for a fix to the RPS. This issue may be heard during the second week of veto session.
Send your legislators this information using the fill in form below. You are encouraged to customize your letter.
Veto session runs from November 27-29 and December 4-6. During this time period, we have a chance to finally pass the funding package for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. On June 1 at 1AM when this bill came for a vote in the Illinois Senate, a majority of legislators supported the bill - 33 out of 59 voted yes. Unfortunately, the bill wasn't called soon enough and required 36 votes - a supermajority. Advocates and IDNR have worked all summer to lock up the needed votes, but your help will put us over the top.
When filling out the below action, your letter will reflect whether your state senator voted yes and will thank them and encourage them to vote yes again. If they voted no or present, your letter will focus on encouraging them to vote YES when the bill comes up again. You can view the roll call here. Letters will only be addressed to Senators at this time.
Please fill out the below letter and ask your legislators to support legislation to keep IDNR funded.
****You are encouraged to personalize this letter as much as possible, especially the subject line. If you are being directed to this action alert by an environmental, conservation, recreation, hunting, fishing, sporting group, etc. please be sure to indicate your group membership.****
In a last minute budget maneuver, $3.7 million was re-appropriated from the Renewable Energy Resources Trust Fund to the Illinois Green Economy Network (IGEN). This is over 75% of the money in this fund. This transfer of money from RERTF has already raised alarm in the solar business community, and undermined their ability to plan for a sustainable business future. Some businesses have already reduced employee hours or instituted lay-offs.
The RERTF assisted Illinois small businesses in their ability to hire and maintain local workforces. This fund provided rebates to consumers wishing to put renewable energy devices on their property. Over the last couple of years the program has been massively oversubscribed, oftentimes selling out within a day or two. The rebate provided an incentive for consumers, opening the market to families who may not have otherwise afforded renewable energy. This in turn provided jobs for Illinois residents. Solar installation is done by a local workforce; the money used to pay these workers stays in State.
The RERTF money is collected from ratepayers and exists to address ratepayer issues. The statute authorizing the RERF states that the money should be used “to provide grants, loans, and other incentives to foster investment in and the development and use of renewable energy resources….”. IGEN’s mission is to raise the awareness of sustainability throughout the State and train workers for sustainable careers. This newly trained workforce will have limited options in Illinois as renewable energy businesses will not be hiring.
Please personalize the below letter, particularly if you are a solar energy business owner. The letter will be sent to the Governor and your legislators.
SB3442 is an effort to prohibit local governments from regulating plastic bags in their own communities. This includes the sale, use, collection, and recycling of plastic bags in addition to banning community plastic bag bans and fees. The bill purports to put together a statewide recycling program, but the goals of this program are extremely weak and will not even move Illinois to the national recovery rate for plastic bags.
Allowing communities to innovate and lead the way on plastic bag reduction will lead to better outcomes than the proposal outlined by this bill.
Governor Quinn has vetoed this bill and now opponents are trying to override the veto. Ask your legislator to oppose the veto override.
SB2897 creates the Illinois Benefit Corporation Act. This act creates a new and voluntary corporate entity in Illinois. This new business opportunity allows benefit corporations to have a mission supporting its community, improving the environment or promoting social responsibility.
Under current law, corporations must maximize profits and legally cannot take into consideration other factors in business operations. Many businesses seek to not only make a profit, but also pursue a public benefit mission, such as environmental sustainability or social responsibility. Benefit corporation legislation is a completely voluntary new corporate form that does not impact existing corporations and does not provided tax incentives, but rather provides a free market opportunity for businesses to consider society and the environment in addition to profit.
This bill creates an important new tool for socially responsible businesses to pursue sustainability.
There is significant demand from the Illinois business community to allow the creation of benefit corporations. Other states have used the Benefit Corporation form to provide legal protection for companies wishing to help their communities while also making a profit. There are also visionary entrepreneurs in other states who could be attracted to Illinois if we had a Benefit Corporation law. Benefit corporations create jobs and provide a material positive impact on society and the environment by doing the following three things:
Seven other states have passed benefit corporation legislation - Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, California, Hawaii, and Virginia. By passing this legislation, Illinois will attract Benefit Corporations to the state.
HB 3881 will be voted on by the House of Representative in the next two days and the waste industry will be fiercely opposing it. We need your help to press our senators to vote yes on HB 3881.
Millions of taxpayers’ dollars have been invested across the City of Chicago and Cook County to preserve and restore open space. Now, waste companies want to use that land for dumping, hurting our environment and affecting our quality of life.
Introduced by State Rep. Marcus Evans (D-Chicago) and supported by dozens of community and environmental groups, HB 3881 will preserve Chicago’s 30-year-old landfill moratorium that has protected the Lake Calumet region from further landfilling. Without a landfill ban, waste companies will once again be able to ship garbage into our communities.
Help pass HB 3881 to ban landfills in Chicago and Cook County. Contact your state representative and tell them to support the landfill ban by voting yes on HB 3881!