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.


scripdrug-disposalOn Saturday, September 27, you can dispose of leftover, unneeded and expired prescription drugs in a manner that is safe for the community and the environment.

The Drug Enforcement Administration's National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day makes collection sites available nationwide for consumers to drop off all solid forms of unwanted medication. The take-back event is free and anonymous.

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IEC-2014-LinkIn a time when it seems that doing the right thing environmentally may not align with doing the profitable thing, the Illinois Environmental Council acts as a guiding light. Every year, the organization awards top legislators with the “Environmental Champion - 100% Scorecard” award and places them on their environmental scorecard. Senator Terry Link (D-Waukegan) was one of the recipients this year.

“It is an honor to receive this award from the Illinois Environmental Council,” Link said. “While our job as legislators is to work for the people of this great state, if we didn’t also do our part to look after the environment of Illinois the people would wind up in some sorry shape.”

In order to receive the honor, legislators needed to vote for 11 pieces of legislation that the IEC deemed key to their environmental goals. Legislators who did not receive 100 percent awards needed to vote in favor of at least eight of the ten. Those bills for 2014 include:

  • HB5657, which sought to change regulations for vendors at farmer’s markets, allowing them to sell in multiple counties with greater ease.
  • HB4227 streamlines requirements for electronics recyclers, making it easy to comply with the Electronic Products Recycling Act.
  • HB2427, which authorizes a one-time $30 million supplemental procurement from the Renewable Energy Resources Fund for solar energy.
  • SB2727 bans plastic microbeads from use in facial scrubs and body washes.
  • SB2780 which creates funding for green stormwater infrastructure and pollution prevention projects.

While not one of the bills on the scorecard, Link sponsored SB2928 in an effort to keep prescription drugs out of Lake County’s water system by creating a drug disposal pilot program in that area.

"Senator Link has been a constant advocate for the environment in Springfield throughout his career,” said Jen Walling, the IEC’s executive director. “This year, he did excellent work to protect water from pollution from pharmaceuticals and also was a leader on renewable energy. I am pleased to congratulate him on his perfect record this year."


IL Env. CouncilSPRINGFIELD – Every year, the Illinois Environmental Council – a 39-year-old organization that serves as the environmental community's voice before the Illinois state legislature – honors a select group of legislators who have taken firm steps to protect the environment. This year, state Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) is one of the honorees.

“I want to thank the Illinois Environmental Council for all of the good work it does,” Morrison said. “I know how important protecting the environment is to members of the communities I represent, and I hope to do even more in the future.”

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IL Env. CouncilSPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Environmental Council, a 39-year-old organization that serves as the voice of the environmental community in the state capital, has named State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) a “100% Environmental Champion” in 2014.

“Don Harmon is a leader for the environment in Springfield,” said IEC Executive Director Jen Walling.

Harmon voted in support of every piece of legislation supported by the council.

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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.