This week, Governor Pritzker signed a bill that regulates the toxic coal ash impacting our communities. As an Outreach Director for the Faith in Place Action Fund and one of the leaders of Clean Power Lake County, I am so grateful for everything you did to help make this law a reality. We are grateful to see this big step forward, and sincerely thank all the organizers and advocates who fought hard for this victory. We were even featured in the Chicago Tribune! [Read more…]
Right now, a bill is working its way through Congress called the RECLAIM Act, which commits $1 billion to help clean up dangerous abandoned coal mines while creating thousands of reclamation jobs across the country.
Abandoned mine sites create problems such as polluted streams, underground mine fires, and piles of coal waste. The funding is intended to help resource-strapped states and tribes clean up over 20,000 high priority sites that remain unaddressed.
Unfortunately, Congressman Rodney Davis still hasn’t signed on as a cosponsor.
Coal companies are shutting down unprofitable, dirty coal plants in states across the country, and they’re leaving workers behind. This bill would provide an immediate economic boost to communities by putting laid-off miners to work, while protecting the planet for future generations.
Tell Congressman Rodney Davis to support the RECLAIM Act today!
From protecting Illinois communities from toxic coal ash and dangerous Ethylene Oxide emissions, to creating a new Clean Water Workforce Pipeline to provide training and resources for careers in water infrastructure, we have a lot to celebrate from the past few months. Each of these bills passed both the Senate and the House, and we now need the Governor to sign these important environmental justice bills. If you haven’t already, please take a moment to tell Governor Pritzker to sign our bills into law without delay!
We aren’t done yet. Right now, we’re just three votes away from having enough votes to pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA) in the Senate.
And there is a fierce urgency to this moment; if we don’t pass CEJA soon, we won’t have the resources we need to build clean energy infrastructure across the state. That means a lot of qualified people won’t be hired or could lose the jobs that they already have. That’s why I’ve been spending a lot of time meeting with our elected officials to stress the importance of this moment.
We always talk about the importance of protecting our planet, with good reason, but this is also a jobs bill. Too many people in our communities don’t have access to careers in this growing field. The Clean Energy Jobs Act would change that, and that’s why I hope you will take two minutes right now to contact your legislators!
The Illinois General Assembly will be back in session in October, and we’re planning a big Lobby Day for the 29th. Save the date, and stay tuned for more details!
Thank you for all of your work,
Pastor Scott Onque’
The following is testimony provided by Katie Maxwell to the US EPA regarding their proposal to replace the Clean Power Plan.
My name is Katie Maxwell and I am part of the communications team at Faith in Place – Illinois’ Interfaith Power; Light Affiliate. I am speaking today for those that can’t afford to take a day off work and for people of faith who care deeply about our planet. A lifelong resident of Illinois and a recent Environmental Studies graduate of St. Olaf College, I am passionate about environmental justice because the adverse effects are close to home.
My mother grew up in Northwest Indiana during the late 60s and 70s. She tells me you could see an orange haze in the air driving along the Skyway into Chicago. Thanks in large part to the Clean Air Act, the industrial smog was cleaned up. But the poor air quality left my mom with chronic health conditions – asthma and severe food allergies – that she fights every day. Some days, it’s hard for her to simply leave the house due to her pain. I’m thankful she has access to health care providers who help her manage her symptoms. I know that isn’t the case for many across the country, especially in communities of color. Communities that will experience a disproportionate number of the EPA’s estimated 1,400 premature deaths annually by 2030 under the proposed rule.
As a person of faith who values the beautiful diversity of communities, both human and nonhuman, here in Chicago and across the globe, it is unconscionable to me that we as a nation would put our own at risk. That we might choose profit over health, instantaneous gratification over preservation of what matters most: hope.
Whatever creed we adhere to, it’s our moral obligation to do right by our neighbors.
I’m asking the EPA to reject the proposed Affordable Clean Energy Rule and to not replace the Clean Power Plan. We have made good progress toward a better tomorrow with the current rule. Why get rid of something that is expected to annually save between 1,500 and 3,600 lives?
Thank you for your time and for hearing my testimony today.
Join us for a rally and the opportunity to educate your elected officials on the importance of promoting environmental justice in our state.
Sign up here to reserve your seat on a bus departing from one of many locations throughout the state!
The cost is $30 per person and includes a T-shirt ($15 for Champaign/Urbana). Free tickets are available on the sign-up page if you are unable to afford a ticket at this time.
Please be sure to bring a reusable water bottle and lunch, and wear comfortable shoes for walking around the capitol building.
More information on specific legislation that we will be lobbying for will be coming soon.
Buses will depart from locations across Illinois, including Chicago Loop, Chicago South Side, Waukegan, Schaumburg, River Forest, and Urbana.
I’m at the State Capitol building in Springfield today as our state legislators are currently meeting for a special session.
I urgently need your help.
Earlier this month, both the Senate and the House overwhelmingly passed environmental justice resolutions that support funding for the Illinois Solar for All program – a breakthrough new program created by the Future Energy Jobs Act that would create job training programs and expand access to solar energy and solar jobs to economically disadvantaged communities.
However, a budget proposal by Senate Republicans – and endorsed by Gov. Rauner – would sweep every penny of the $185 million designated for the Illinois Solar for All program. [Read more…]
Much of our excitement surrounding the Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA) – groundbreaking energy legislation passed by the Illinois General Assembly in December 2016 – was based on the creation of the Illinois Solar for All Program. [Read more…]
The gala gathered many distinguished guests – clergy, political leaders, members of the Legislative Black Caucus, non-profit leaders, and others – who care about making the transition to a clean energy future that empowers all Illinoisans. [Read more…]
We are looking for state legislators to champion:
- curbing climate change while creating clean energy jobs, improving our energy efficiency and our renewable portfolio standards to create wind and solar jobs for all. [Read more…]