EPA

  • Bush & Curran unveil legislative package offering greater protections from ethylene oxide

    Sen. Melinda BushState Senators Melinda Bush and John Curran, joined by Willowbrook residents, unveiled a package of legislation on Tuesday that seeks to address the public health crisis caused by Sterigenics and their release of ethylene oxide into surrounding communities. The announcement comes after the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (ILEPA) issued a seal order against Sterigenics last week, which forced them to cease operations.

    While praising the ILEPA’s decision as an important first step, it was reiterated that lawmakers now need to ensure the proper policies and protections are in place to safeguard Willowbrook and all Illinois communities from the impact of this public health hazard.

  • Harris overrides Rauner veto denying safe, affordable drinking water to poor suburbs

    harris 111518SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Napoleon Harris III (D-Harvey) led a successful effort this week to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of a bill to help economically disadvantaged communities in Cook County shore up their water infrastructure.

    “Smaller Cook County suburbs lack the funding to make necessary repairs to their infrastructure and have a small chance of qualifying for state loan programs,” Harris said. “We now have a way for towns like Harvey and Ford Heights to access the capital funds needed to provide residents with safe drinking water.”

    In October 2017 the Chicago Tribune found Ford Heights residents pay nearly six times more for the same water usage as residents of the wealthy, predominantly white town of Highland Park, and four times more for water than people living in Chicago. Similar problems exist in Harvey and Maywood.

    Eight towns surveyed by the Tribune — Hometown, East Hazel Crest, Posen, Burnham, Riverdale, Flossmoor, Lyons and Maywood — lost more than 30 percent of their water. Of the 10 towns with the highest water rates, 50 percent have majority black populations.

    The legislation would set up a drinking water grant program under the Illinois EPA to fix aging water pipes in Harvey, Ford Heights, Maywood and other towns.

    The legislation goes into effect immediately.