Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Environmental Lobby Day in Springfield, IL

On Wednesday, April 2 SECS travelled to Springfield with members from Prairie River Network and Heartland Coalfield Alliance. We discussed local struggles with community members and updates from organizations like Stand Up to Coal. In addition to catching up, we also discussed relevant bills being discussed (see below) and recevied training on how to talk comforatbly with our state representatives asking for their support. Then Thursday brought the Illinois Environmental Council's "Environmental Lobby Day" where we spoke in a press conference, met with the Director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and lobbied our state representatives at the Capitol. To see a copy of the official press release, check it out here.

Bills being discussed and potentially voted for:
HB5660 - Coal Education Bill - Removes the requirement that the DCEO Coal program conduct marketing and education programs for coal. Ask your representative to cosponsor this bill! EJC and IEC have made this easy.

HB4599/SB3431 - Coal Tar Bill - Bans the sale of coal tar in Illinois.

HB5939 - Pet Coke and Coal Dust Regulation - This is the bill introduced by the Attorney General. It includes regulation of coal piles as well as pet coke (NOTE: This does not include coal at power plants, mines, or barge / RR transfer stations. We can use your support for this bill to talk to legislators about why regulating coal piles on a broader scale is important).

HB5866 - Renewable Energy Resources Fund - This bill doubles the amount of money available for solar energy by dissolving the Coal Development Technology Fund. This is the longest shot on here, so it is a starting point for negotiations.

For a video of the press conference, click here!
For more photos of the event, check out Heartland Coalfield Alliance's flickr.

Environmental Lobby Day was a great experience to network with our state's various campaigns and to gain experience and insight to the democratic process of politics. Thanks to Illinois Environmental Council for bringing so many people together, and we look forward to more lobby days in the future!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Recyclemania Game Day: Moving Towards Zero Waste

Recyclemania is a nationwide event where schools are competing to reduce waste, increase recycling, and promote awareness for more environmentally-friendly practices. Over an 8-week period, colleges will report the amount of recycling and trash collected each week to determine who recycles the most on a per capita basis. This will also show how schools are improving their waste:recycled ratio as the competition goes on! The main goals of Recyclemania are:

  • Motivate students and staff to increase recycling efforts and reduce waste generation.
  • Generate attention and support for campus recycling programs.
  • Encourage colleges to measure and benchmark recycling activity in their effort to improve their programs over time.
  • Have a fair and friendly competition!

At UIUC, SECS teamed up with University Facilities and Services' Bart Bartels to bring Recyclemania to Illinois Basketball! On February 26, almost 150 volunteers worked together at the State Farm Center at the Illinois vs. Nebraska game. From changing signage on trash cans to "Landfill Waste" and "Recyling" to collecting tons of trash leftover in the stands after the game, this game was a huge collaboration and really fun! After weighing all the trash collected, the results are in! After reviewing the data, we diverted 31.5% of the waste from being landfilled! Thanks to all of our amazing volunteers and be on the lookout for more Recyclemania events on campus, like Weatherization's collboration with Facilities and Services to reduce electronic waste on campus.