Environment Illinois 2021 Legislative Agenda

Environment Illinois

Clean Energy For Illinois

In 2008, Illinois passed a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), which set Illinois on a path to get 25% of its energy from renewable sources by 2025. Now, five years away from that deadline, we’re behind at only 16%. Illinois has the capacity to meet more than 500% of its electricity demands through onshore wind energy alone. As climate change continues to accelerate rising lake levels and erosion along Lake Michigan, Illinoisans deserve a future not tied to dirty and outdated fossil fuels. We can also reduce dependency on fossil fuels by electrifying buildings and transportation, and making our appliances more efficient. Environment Illinois supports:

  • Passing policy that commits Illinois to reaching 100% renewable energy by 2050, with aggressive RPS goals by 2030 and a dependable RPS budget that increases consistently over time

  • Passing minimum energy efficiency standards for appliances

  • Building charging infrastructure for electric vehicles and creating incentives to electrify buildings

  • Slowing investment in and increasing oversight over fossil fuel infrastructure like gas transmission and distribution systems.

Wildlife Over Waste

Every year, 22 million pounds of plastic flows into the Great Lakes, roughly half entering Lake Michigan alone. Single-use plastics like cups, bottles, and cutlery, are just one contributor, but they’re the least necessary and the easiest to tackle. Most of the time they are not recyclable and take centuries to decompose, instead lingering in our landfills and breaking down into smaller particles in our waterways. Tiny pieces of plastic, called microplastics, harm wildlife when ingested and have already been found in the guts of many species of Lake Michigan fish. To protect the waters of Lake Michigan, unnecessary single-use plastics should not be entering the hands of consumers in the first place, and should be dealt with responsibly by the producers and manufacturers rather than the public and municipal waste programs. Environment Illinois supports:

  • Establishing a state-wide container deposit law (“Bottle Bill”) that places a 10 cent deposit on bottles and cans to incentivize recycling and reduce waste

  • Banning single-use polystyrene foam cups and takeout containers and incentivizing reusable alternatives

  • The Digital Fair Repair act to allow consumers to repair and maintain their electronics rather than dispose of them

Clean Water

Clean water is a basic human need, but many obstacles still stand in the way of that for Illinoisans – from polluting factory farms, to lead service lines that bring drinking water to our homes, to crumbling infrastructure that strains sewage systems. Environment Illinois supports:

  • Lead service line identification and inventory

  • Replacement of all lead service lines in the state within the next ten years

  • The right of local communities to place pollution limitations on concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs)

  • Funding for clean water infrastructure, including nature-based infrastructure

A Toxics-Free Environment

Toxic chemicals are everywhere, from our drinking water to the food we eat to the toys children play with. “Forever chemicals” like PFAS persist in our environment for thousands of years, threatening wildlife and ecosystems. Herbicides and pesticides threaten the health of pollinator populations, which in turn threatens the future of our food supply. Environment Illinois supports:

  • Banning PFAS chemicals

  • Banning neonicotinoids, a class of bee-killing pesticides

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