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Bennett resolution supports strategy to protect water quality from chemical runoff

bennett 030719SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) was joined by Illinois Department of Agriculture Director John Sullivan today to address the issue of farm chemical runoff polluting Illinois waterways.

“We are on the right path, but more work remains to be done,” Bennett said. “With a science-based model as a guide, I am hopeful that we can make even more significant water quality improvements.”

Sullivan provided testimony in the Senate Environment and Conservation Committee to support Senate Resolution 52, sponsored by Bennett. It calls for further steps in a plan to protect water quality by limiting nitrogen and phosphorus runoff from agricultural operations – nutrients with important beneficial effects in farming but with potentially harmful environmental consequences. The effort to protect water quality in Illinois ultimately would benefit the Mississippi River environment all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico, where nutrient runoff has contributed to a dead zone.

Developed in 2015, the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy is a collaborative effort between Illinois’ Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Agriculture and a broad group of stakeholders like the Illinois Stewardship Alliance, all committed to protecting and conserving state natural resources.

“The progress that has been made by the State of Illinois and the stakeholders of the Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy over the last few years has been remarkable,” Sullivan said. “I’m pleased to see the General Assembly take an active role and support the agriculture industry’s efforts to implement best management practices and new technologies in order to reduce nutrient loss in the state. I look forward to working with all involved to continue this effort in Illinois.”

The strategy seeks to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus loads by 45 percent by 2035. Illinois’ plan is among 12 others by Mississippi River Basin states designed to stop excessive nitrate nitrogen and phosphorus contamination in the Gulf of Mexico and improve water quality.

“It is encouraging to see Director Sullivan bring leadership to the NLRS in the first 100 days of the new administration. So many Illinois farmers and landowners are energized to build healthy soil and reduce nutrient pollution to our drinking water,” said Liz Moran Stelk, Executive Director of the Illinois Stewardship Alliance. “Our sustainable agriculture coalition is excited to work with the new Director, Deputy Director Warren Goetsch and Senator Bennett to ensure farmers have the tools they need to protect our vital resources

Having passed the Environment and Conservation Committee, SR 52 is now scheduled for consideration before the full Senate.

Sen. Scott Bennett

Senator Scott Bennett

52nd Senate District

Years served: 2015 - Present

Committee assignments: Agriculture (Chairperson); Appropriations II; Criminal Law (Vice-Chairperson); Higher Education; Labor; State Government; Subcommittee on Capital.

Biography: Bennett grew up in Gibson City, where four generations of his family worked on their family farm. He moved to Champaign-Urbana to attend law school at the University of Illinois after graduating from Illinois State University.

Associated Representatives:
Carol Ammons
Michael T. Marron