From providing a foundation for clean and renewable energy industries to grow, to ensuring all drinking water in Illinois is safe, Senate Democrats understand the importance of protecting our environment for future generations.


agchem-recyclIllinois’ role as a leader in agricultural production in the United States relies on a number of resources, and soil, water and air are key elements in the equation. The Illinois Department of Agriculture is launching a new program to help improve stewardship of these irreplaceable resources with agrichemical container recycling.

According to the Ag Container Recycling Council, a national not-for-profit organization helping farmers and applicators in 42 states,

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“The compromise allows businesses ample time to sell the products they currently have while designing environmentally-friendly alternatives.” - State Senator Linda Holmes

microbeadsRSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) was a co-sponsor of the legislation that bans the use of micro-beads in Illinois. The bill was signed by Governor Pat Quinn on Sunday.

“This plan is the result of an agreement between environmental groups and manufacturers,” Holmes said. “The compromise allows businesses ample time to sell the products they currently have while designing environmentally-friendly alternatives.”

Micro-beads, small, plastic spheres in personal care products, can cause serious environmental damage according to recent studies.  

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Natural alternatives exist to tiny plastic spheres that exfoliate but could harm aquatic ecosystems

041614 br 0162FSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago 7th) thanked her allies in the environmental movement for their persistence and the personal care industry for its cooperation as Illinois became the first state in the nation to ban non-biodegradable “microbeads” that threaten Great Lakes ecosystems. Governor Quinn signed legislation Steans sponsored to phase out the manufacture of microbeads in Illinois by 2017 and their sale by 2018.

“Lake Michigan is a critically important natural resource for our state, and its health affects recreation, tourism and the flourishing of aquatic plant and animal species,” Steans said. “I’m proud that Illinois is an environmental leader, taking the first step away from plastic microbeads toward natural exfoliants, and I’m optimistic that we’ve started a nationwide movement to protect not just the Great Lakes, but other bodies of water with high concentrations of microbeads.”

Microbeads, which measure less than five millimeters across, are so tiny they often slip through water treatment systems and end up in lakes and rivers, where aquatic animals ingest them. Ongoing research suggests the non-biodegradable spheres may also absorb toxins along the way, adding to the threat to fish and possibly to the humans who catch and eat them. Often labeled as polyethylene or polypropylene, they are common ingredients in facial cleansers and scrubs, soaps and even toothpastes.

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Jacobs051514Senator Mike Jacobs (D-Moline) reacted to a statement made today by House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) concerning Exelon.

“The nuclear energy plants owned and operated by Exelon are vital economic engines for our state and community.  We need to fully understand the challenges they face in order to ensure their continued operation,” Jacobs said. “The Quad-Cities Region has the lowest unemployment in the state of Illinois, and keeping these jobs in the area is my priority.”

Speaker Madigan, labor organizations and Christopher Crane, CEO of Exelon have been working together concerning the fate of the energy company and their facilities across the state. Exelon has 11 reactors across Illinois that produce over 90 percent of the state’s carbon-free clean energy, making the state number one in the nation for clean energy production.


State Senator John Sullivan introduced NASCAR driver Kenny Wallace on the Senate floor during a trip to Springfield advocating for the use of E-15 fuel.SPRINGFIELD – State Senator John Sullivan (D-Rushville) and NASCAR driver Kenny Wallace promoted the use of E-15 fuels during a Wednesday visit to the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield.

"E-15 is a high-performance fuel, and I know a little about high performance," Wallace said. "More people should have the chance to buy fuel that helps Illinois' largest industry: agriculture."

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Funding Also Approved to Plan and Construct New Beach Concession Building at Popular Recreational Area

IBSP Groundbreaking 2014 049RZION – State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) and officials from the Illinois Capital Development Board and Illinois Department of Natural Resources today broke ground on the $1.3 million shoreline stabilization project at Illinois Beach State Park in Zion. The project is part of Governor Pat Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program, and will help reduce sand erosion and allow hundreds of thousands of visitors each year to continue enjoying this pristine stretch of Lake Michigan shoreline. Officials also today announced that Governor Quinn has approved funding to plan and construct a new Beach Concession Building at the popular recreation area.

“These efforts to maintain Illinois Beach State Park are an investment in both our natural resources and our tourism economy,” Senator Bush said. “This is a great first step in improving the environmental integrity of our Lake Michigan Shoreline.”

The shoreline stabilization project involves the construction and installation of onshore and offshore protective measures to allow natural movement of sediment without eroding the existing shoreline. The sand that has accumulated at the North Beach area will also be removed and redistributed. Copenhaver Construction, Inc. of Gilberts, Illinois was the lowest of four bidders for the project at $1,378,000. The project will be overseen by the Illinois Capital Development Board (CDB).

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“This proposal would curtail the potentially devastating impact of micro-beads on the environment.”— State Linda Holmes (D-Aurora)

030514 js 0446CRSPRINGFIELD – Micro-beads, small, plastic spheres in personal care products, can cause serious environmental damage according to a recent studies. 

A measure co-sponsored by State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora), chair of the Senate Environment Committee, seeks to ban micro-beads in Illinois and reduce their environmental impact.

“Products with micro-beads can cause serious harm to fish and other wildlife,” Holmes said.  “This proposal would curtail the potentially devastating impact of micro-beads on the environment.”

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040714 js 0481RSPRINGFIELD – Bears, wolves and mountain lions could have added protections in Illinois after a measure sponsored by State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) passed the Senate today.

The legislation would add American black bears, gray wolves and mountain lions to the Illinois Wildlife Code.  These animals were native predators, but have been absent for decades in Illinois.

“It is increasingly important that we put protections in place for bears, wolves and mountain lions as they return to their natural habitats in Illinois,” Holmes said.  “This legislation ensures that indigenous species’ populations can grow to sustainable levels.  It includes safeguards for farmers who could be affected by their return.”