Illinois
IL

IL-PrairieStateMineWhether she runs for governor or not, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan would need nine lives to bring the state's notoriously broken regulatory system into compliance with the nation's most reckless coal industry.

With state coal production soaring against national trends, Illinois cemented its reputation as the worst rogue state for coal operations last Friday, when the rubber-stamping operations of the state's EPA issued a pollutant discharge permit to a company already cited by the state for over 600 toxic discharge violations at its central Illinois non-union strip mine.

Translation: Imagine the Department of Motor Vehicles renewing the driver's license of a toxic-laden truck driver with 600 DUI's.

Welcome to Illinois--where the brand new Prairie State coal-fired plant is facing " potential fraud" investigations for rocket increases in electricity rates; where the second highest number of contaminated coal ash dump sites in the country abound; where a mind-boggling high hazard coal slurry dam continues to rise in sight of a farm town's nursing home and day care center; where Illinois taxpayers underwrite a huge slush fund for coal marketing, including a shameless " coal education curriculum" for students that blatantly covers up the facts on the state's deadly coal industry; where even the liberal US Sen. Dick Durbin fights for the pork of "clean coal" as the main utility company backs out of the FutureGen boondoggle.

Even with black lung disease for coal miners spiking, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources was also found in violation of state law's for failing to hire enough mine safety inspectors.

It's so pathetic in Illinois that even bankrupt energy companies are granted two-year extensions on their deadly emissions clean up requirements.

It's so pathetic in Illinois that there's not even a coal severance tax, or collection of sales tax for out-of-state transactions--a huge detail when record coal exports now drive the market.

It's so pathetic in Illinois that we don't even celebrate Coal Miners Day--just the coal barons.

And last Friday's notice by the Illinois EPA, sent in an email after working hours, on the granting of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit for Springfield Coal's strip mine operation near the township of Industry might be the most unabashed denial of facts and community input in recent memory.

"The fact that this mine, with hundreds of water violations has been allowed to function these past 5 years without even having their permit approved until after the fact is totally appalling," said long-time area resident Kimberly Sedgwick, who has spent years begging state agencies and organizations to intervene in the violation-ridden mine. "If companies are allowed to proceed without having permits prior, then what sort of atrocities are actually taking place? Unless I am missing something here, This is a complete mockery of our state agency and our Illinois system. It points towards corruption if you ask me. This is totally unacceptable!"

Along with being a dumping ground of toxic coal ash, the Industry mine will continue to discharge into Grindstone Creek, a historic watershed that served the first mills in the region, and flows into Camp Creek, a major site for historic Native American occupation, and then into the Lamoine River.

Call it a chronicle of a rigged permit system foretold.

I'll never forget a public hearing on the Industry mine held in Macomb, Illinois, on April 12, 2011, packed to the gills by locals against the strip mine, and listening to Illinois EPA official Larry Crislip inform a concerned citizen that the IEPA had never denied a coal mining NPDES permit. Ever. No matter how bad of an outlaw mining operation.

From the hearing transcripts:

MR. MOOREHOUSE: Okay. In the past the IEPA has refused -- has the EPA in the past refused to issue a permit to a serial violator to a coal surface mine?

MR. CRISLIP: To my recollection, I do not recall denying a permit. We work those issues out.

According to I-EPA spokesperson Dean Studer, Crislip was not available to explain how Illinois bureaucrats "work those issues out" this week because he was on a two-week vacation.

Kind of makes you miss the old days of disgraced Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who was at least open about his Coal Revival Program.

Either way, forget climate change denial. Still in the 19th century regulatory mode, Illinois has become the king of coal denial. And regulated coal destruction.

Add a comment

States - Illinois

Page 25 of 77

25

Illinois Articles

Prev Next Page:

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:180 Illinois

Read more

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:349 Illinois

Read more

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:301 Illinois

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

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:503 Illinois

Read more

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

Read more

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:591 Illinois

Read more

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:556 Illinois

Read more

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

Read more

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:539 Illinois

Read more

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:679 Illinois

Read more

Direct from PDA Illinois

PDA In Your State

Sign the Petition

Button-DetroitWater

 

Illinois Leadership

For support in organizing within your state, contact:

     
Bill Bianchi    

 

State Leadership
Bill Bianchi

Email us at: field@pdamerica.org

Chapters

PDA Chicago
Central Illinois
Greater Peoria
Northeast Illinois - CD 10
PDA Chicago
Rock River Valley
Southern Illinois People for Progress

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

BlueDonate2

 

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:

PR Rank