Illinois
IL

Photo courtesy of Frack Action. What happens in Illinois, doesn't stay in Illinois -- especially when you're dealing with the national ramifications of a combined fracking and coal mining rush unparalleled in recent memory.

As a sit-in movement continues at the office of Gov. Pat Quinn in Springfield, Illinois, besieged southern Illinois residents who have been left out of backroom legislative negotiations over a controversial and admittedly flawed regulatory fracking bill are calling on the nation to contact Gov. Quinn and Lt. Gov. Lisa Madigan to "put a moratorium on drilling to investigate its full climate and health impacts."

Residents are also asking for concerned supporters to call members of Illinois' legislature to vote against a bill that health expert Sandra Steingraber has denounced as unscientific and unsafe.

Over a half century ago, Nobel laureate William Faulkner confronted Southerners who quietly allowed the South to "wreck and ruin itself in less than a hundred years" with segregation and civil rights violations. He begged his fellow Southerners to "speak now against the day, when our Southern people who will resist to the last these inevitable changes in social relations, will, when they have been forced to accept what they at one time might have accepted with dignity and goodwill, will say: 'Why didn't someone tell us this before? Tell us this in time?'"

That time has come to speak now against the day in Illinois -- and the nation is watching. 

From water contamination, air pollution to earthquakes in one of the nation's most deadly seismic zones -- conferring with a U.S. Geological Survey, there is already a 90 percent chance that a magnitude 6 or 7 earthquake will occur in the New Madrid seismic area within the next 50 years -- the unleashed fracking rush promises to not only leave southern Illinois in shambles.

If passed, Illinois' so-called historic compromise of regulatory doublespeak -- hailed by Gov. Quinn as "a new national standard for environmental protection and job creation potential" -- will open the floodgates for similar fracking operations across the nation.

Not only fracking. Unleashed under the same illusory regulatory guise, Illinois is the midst of one of the biggest coal mining rushes and export pushes in the nation.

Illinois is now standing in violation of state law for failing to provide enough coal mining inspectors. How can we imagine fracking oversight will be any different?

In effect, Illinois and its Mississippi River banks are becoming another ground zero, like the Canadian tar sands and Keystone pipeline, in the battle over the unfolding climate change crisis.

My son and I stood on the banks of the Mississippi River last month, watching the spill over from the latest floods.

"We have to do this together as a family," Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn had told rain-drenched reporters in Chicago. "When we have any kind of emergency, we work together for the common good. We help each other."

Indeed, it is the common good of my son's future, the ninth generation of my family to be born in Illinois, that concerns me.

Within days of Quinn's declaration of a state of emergency, two more historic announcements made their way down the famed river.

With little fanfare in the media, scientists confirmed CO2 levels had crossed the 400 parts per million milestone for the first time in human history, as the inevitable current of climate change passed in front of our eyes. No one blinked at this Titanic foreshadowing.

At the same time, Gov. Quinn announced Illinois had recorded a five-fold increase in coal exports in 2012, thanks largely to the Mississippi River's historic trade corridor.

Quinn's Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity called it "truly an unbelievable achievement."

Given the fact that coal burning remains the world's leading source of CO2-induced climate destabilization, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, it's truly an unbelievable act of denial.

In addition, just inland from the river and east of St. Louis, the rising Peabody Prairie State 1,600 MW coal-fired plant will soon become the worst newly built national emitter of CO2 -- at nearly 13 millions tons a year -- in nearly three decades.

In the last few months, Illinois has witnessed near-record-low water and then torrential flooding. At the first of the year, government officials spoke about potentially shutting down shipping lanes on the river, due to a drought that had brought water depths to only nine feet in some areas.

"While the conditions are much different than they were this winter, the effects are quite the same," a Coast Guard spokesperson told the media last month, as he handled the sinking of 11 coal barges in a recent accident.

How much longer can we afford this river of denial until our own ships in southern Illinois, the heartland and across the nation sink?

The answer to that question will only come when we recognize the emergency at hand, in the words of Gov. Quinn, and work together for the common good.

And that begins with calling for a sensible moratorium on fracking.


Author of 'State Out of the Union: Arizona and the Final Showdown Over the American Dream'

Original article on Huffington Post

Photo courtesy of Frack Action. 

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States - Illinois

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The New Machine: Charter Schools

The New Machine: Charter Schools

Charter school operators aren’t the only one’s not being held accountable—a major complaint of the Chicago Teachers Union—it’s the machine politicians angling for electoral support and continued political power.  The War on Independents Wages On Battle lines were once again drawn between Chicago’s machine democrats and independent democrats when Ald. Toni Foulkes was remapped out of her Southside 15th Ward that changed from a majority of African Americans to 68.3 percent Hispanic. There may be numerous candidates campaigning for the open 15th Ward aldermanic seat but there is certain to be one...

RA Monaco | Sheffield Gazette 29 Jun 2014 Hits:182 Illinois

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Senate Democrats look to revive dormant Equal Rights Amendment

Senate Democrats look to revive dormant Equal Rights Amendment

Senate Democrats plan to make an end-of-session push this week to “rectify an historical wrong” -- and perhaps give women a strong reason to go to the polls this fall -- by putting Illinois on record in support of an Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The bid to revive the Equal Rights Amendment, which was the subject of an epic Statehouse battle in the early 1980s that helped kill the feminist push to amend the U.S. Constitution, comes from state Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago and could be a vehicle for...

Dave McKinney | Chicago Sun-Times 19 May 2014 Hits:351 Illinois

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Illinois legislator wants state to revisit Equal Rights Amendment

Illinois legislator wants state to revisit Equal Rights Amendment

More than 40 years after the Equal Rights Amendment was first passed by the U.S. Congress, an Illinois state senator is taking another crack at getting her colleagues in Springfield to adopt the provision that would enshrine in the U.S. Constitution the idea that rights can't be abridged on account of sex. Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, said the proposed amendment is still relevant today given the ongoing debates about equal pay, abortion rights and other issues on which women are fighting for equality. And she said it's symbolically important to "get Illinois...

John Byrne | Chicago Tribune 19 May 2014 Hits:304 Illinois

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Illinois becomes 16th state to legalize marriage equality

Illinois becomes 16th state to legalize marriage equality

It’s official: Illinois on Wednesday joined 15 other states and the District of Columbia in legalizing same-sex marriage. Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, accompanied by state Rep. Greg Harris, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and several other dignitaries, signed into law a measure allowing gay couples to begin marrying on June 1. “It’s a triumph of democracy, a triumph of government by the people,” said the governor, shortly before signing. “We want to have a new birth of freedom across America, and love is not relegated to second-class citizen status.” The historic nature of...

Emma Margolin | MSNBC.com 21 Nov 2013 Hits:402 Illinois

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Progressive Democrats of America and AFSCME Retirees Hosted …

Progressive Democrats of America and AFSCME Retirees Hosted                                                        Rally to Stop Cuts   to Social Security

On Monday, November 18 at noon almost 100 voters rallied in Springfield to ask Senator Richard Durbin to keep cuts to Social Security off the table. Senator Durbin has proposed possible changes such as lifting the Social Security eligibility age and implementing “Chained CPI” for individuals that earn more than $24,000. After an informational picket along Edwards Street the group followed lead organizer JoAnn Conrad retired AFSCME, IEA-NEA, chair of the Progressive Democrats of Greater Springfield, led the rally across Edwards to the senator’s office. The message was “Scrap the...

JoAnn Conrad 18 Nov 2013 Hits:458 Illinois

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Food stamp cuts to hit 2 million Illinois residents today

Those who rely on food stamps will have to make do with a little less beginning today as a boost in funding from the federal stimulus package is set to expire. The change will affect more than 2 million low-income residents in Illinois who are enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, according to the Illinois Department of Human Services. Nationally, about 47 million people are expected to feel the pinch. The move marks the end of an extra $45.2 billion the federal government funneled into the food stamp program beginning in...

Monique Garcia | The Chicago Tribune 03 Nov 2013 Hits:381 Illinois

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Illinois' Teachable Moment: The True Cost of Coal, Slavery and Historical Markers

Illinois' Teachable Moment: The True Cost of Coal, Slavery and Historical Markers

As another coal train derailed in southern Illinois last weekend, the Illinois State Historical Society teamed up with the Illinois Coal Association on Saturday for their own collision with history during the installation of a historical marker for the state's "First Coal Mine." The real train wreck: Among numerous errors, the Illinois State Historical Society marker fails to mention that other coal mines abounded in southern Illinois, thanks to enslaved African American labor -- including the so-called "first coal mine" -- while the Illinois Coal Association took the occasion...

Jeff Biggers | The Huffington Post 28 Oct 2013 Hits:432 Illinois

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How to irritate Mayor Emanuel and do some legislating in one easy step

How to irritate Mayor Emanuel and do some legislating in one easy step

The pinnacle of last week's Take Back Chicago rally at UIC came near the end, when the 11 aldermen onstage were asked point-blank whether they support pending proposals to slow privatization and tax increment financing deals. Yes or no? As more than 2,000 of the city's most dedicated activists looked on, the aldermen all said yes—even though a couple of them are among the most consistent council supporters of Mayor Rahm Emanuel. They then sat there smirking, as if to say, you can't trap me, because I'm too slick. Things got so absurd...

Ben Joravsky | Chicago Reader 23 Oct 2013 Hits:403 Illinois

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Pro-Coal Kids' Pages Pulled from Government Site as Public Pressure Increases

Pro-Coal Kids' Pages Pulled from Government Site as Public Pressure Increases

Two sections that essentially told kids that coal was safe and good for the environment disappeared today from the website of a state agency in Illinois.  The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity has removed coal-related educational sections from its website, less than two weeks after the launch of a grassroots campaign demanding that the pages be taken down. The website sections were supposed to educate children about energy, but had been widely denounced because they focused on misleading pro-coal messages. It wasn't just environmentalists who objected to the way Illinois was...

Jeff Biggers | Yes Magazine 14 Oct 2013 Hits:505 Illinois

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What Would Aldo Leopold Do? Key Illinois Groups Send Fracking Rule Standards to State Offi…

What Would Aldo Leopold Do? Key Illinois Groups Send Fracking Rule Standards to State Officials

As absentee oil and gas companies register with the state of Illinois this month, downstate citizens groups are taking the lead among statewide environmental groups and laying out scientific and legal standards for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and Joint Committee on Administrative Rules to consider prior to drafting the controversial horizontal hydraulic fracking rules. In a letter sent this week to the key legislative committee and state IDNR agency officials, the groups representing rural communities targeted for fracking operations cite "several new scientific studies and academic research papers that...

Jeff Biggers | Huffington Post 08 Oct 2013 Hits:654 Illinois

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In the Spotlight: A few health care questions for Congressman Schock

In the Spotlight: A few health care questions for Congressman Schock

Dear Rep. Schock, I am a constituent, writing in my role as coordinator of the Greater Peoria Chapter of Progressive Democrats of America (PDA). I and other PDA members were at your town hall meeting in Heyworth, where some of your constituents encouraged you to vote to shut down the government unless the Affordable Care Act is defunded. In reply, you made the sensible point that ACA can't be defunded through the budget process, and that shutting down the government would bring extremely negative political consequences for Republicans. You also stated that...

Larry Jones | Journal Star 29 Sep 2013 Hits:593 Illinois

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Extraction Frontlines Organizing: Interview With Illinois South Founder Dave Ostendorf on …

Extraction Frontlines Organizing: Interview With Illinois South Founder Dave Ostendorf on Coal, Fracking and Citizens Groups

For many residents in southern Illinois dealing with the fallout of a sanctioned coal and fracking rush, the time has come to revamp the historic Illinois South organization and its role in providing impacted residents with a voice in state and federal regulatory matters. Call it deja vu all over again. And perhaps no one understands this better than Rev. Dave Ostendorf, the co-founder of the Illinois South citizens group in 1974, and a long-time community organizer for civil rights in Chicago and across the heartland and nation. "Building critical mass around the...

Jeff Biggers | Huffington Post 06 Sep 2013 Hits:558 Illinois

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When Will Illinois Stop Pushing Discredited Coal Education Program on Children, Schools?

When Will Illinois Stop Pushing Discredited Coal Education Program on Children, Schools?

Two years after a national campaign exposed a coal industry-bankrolled curriculum foisted on unwitting teachers and children, the state of Illinois is still dragging its feet to revamp its own widely denounced, misleading and climate change-denying "Coal Education Program" for schools. Here's the punchline, kids: On the heels of a recent study that the coal industry annually drains nearly $20 million from the Illinois state budget, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity's Office of Coal Development now says it's too broke to promptly respond to a long-awaited evaluation of the...

Jeff Biggers | Huffington Post 29 Aug 2013 Hits:576 Illinois

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Boomtown wrecks

Boomtown wrecks

On the cusp of a hydraulic fracking rush, southern Illinois should recall its boom-bust history CARMI, Ill. — When an oil rush swamped her town of Carmi in the early 1940s, my great-grandmother leased her small farm acreage for drilling, but the wells came up dry. So she installed a new bathroom and cashed in like the rest of her neighbors, boarding the roustabouts. At 150 million barrels per year, Illinois pumped out more petrol in those days than Iraq and Iran combined. (photo: A pump jack works on Wednesday, April 4, 2012, in...

Jeff Biggers | Aljazeera America 16 Aug 2013 Hits:541 Illinois

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Coal Rogue State of Emergency Tonight: Illinois Farm Town Fights Second High Hazard Coal S…

Coal Rogue State of Emergency Tonight: Illinois Farm Town Fights Second High Hazard Coal Slurry Dam

When farmers, families and besieged Hillsboro residents gather this evening for a public hearing on a controversial permit proposal by a coal company to build a second 77-foot-high high hazard toxic coal slurry impoundment within city limits, the stakes will go beyond the threatened health of this iconic central Illinois farm town.   (photo: Jeff Biggers article: Coal Slurry Scandal: Gov. Quinn, the High Hazard Dam in Hillsboro Is a National Disgrace. Construction on High Hazard Coal Slurry Impoundment at Deer Run Mine, Hillsboro, IL, 8/12/2011, prior to receiving proper permit, photo courtesy...

Jeff Biggers | Huffington Post 14 Aug 2013 Hits:682 Illinois

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Direct from PDA Illinois

PDA In Your State

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Illinois Leadership

For support in organizing within your state, contact:

     
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State Leadership
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Email us at: field@pdamerica.org

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Want to bring progressive change to Illinois? Start a PDA chapter; send us an email and we'll get you started.

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PDA Issues

PDA is organized around several core issues. These issues include:

Each team hosts a monthly conference call. Calls feature legislators, staffers and other policy experts. On these calls we determine PDA legislation to support as well as actions and future events.

IL Legislators with ALEC Ties

House of Representatives

Senate

Former Legislators

  • Rep. James H Meyer [21]
  • Rep. Ed Petka [21]
  • Sen. Dave Barkhausen [21]
  • Sen. Karen Hasara [21]
  • Rep. Steven J. Rauschenberger [21]

Legislators Who Have Cut Ties To ALEC

  • Rep. Mary E. Flowers (D-31) - Flowers' staffer reported in May 2012 that Flowers is no longer a member of ALEC.[2]
  • Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-118) - Phelps announced in May 2012 that he is no longer a member of ALEC.[3]

 

Information from Sourcewatch:

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