Monday, October 09, 2006

Blagojevich the Right Choice for Illinois' Environment

Illinois’ air and water are cleaner today because of the work Governor Blagojevich has done to take on the polluters, and promote solutions to environmental problems. Sierra Club acknowledged this record of achievement with our endorsement Sunday.

This is exactly the kind of leadership that Illinois needs in the years ahead, when we face major choices about air, water, land, and energy policies. Illinois will decide whether or not we take serious action to combat global warming, whether we make smart, clean energy choices, whether we protect our drinking water supplies, and whether we protect our last remaining wetlands, prairies, and forests.

Unfortunately Washington has been making the wrong choices. Congress and the Bush Administration choose to keep subsidizing big oil, and to keep shortchanging renewable energy. Washington chooses to go slow and easy on pollution controls on coal-burning power plants, despite clear evidence that their mercury, smog, and soot emissions are hurting our children and many others. The U.S. Supreme Court has left most of Illinois’ remaining wetlands open to destruction, despite the fact that we count on them to protect us from floods, protect our drinking water, and provide a home for wildlife.

Washington isn’t helping, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t do better. We can do better, and under Governor Blagojevich, we have been doing better.

Under Governor Blagojevich, Illinois has done better at cleaning up air pollution. After the Bush Administration proposed going slow on installing mercury pollution controls on coal plants, Illinois is poised to require a 90% reduction of mercury by 2009 – by far the strongest response of any state. Three years ago, there were 11 hospital waste incinerators burning across our state, putting mercury, dioxin, and other pollutants into our air. Since Governor Blagojevich called on them to shut down, all but one of them has, and the last may close soon – a remarkable achievement.

Illinois is taking major steps toward a smart energy future, where consumers are protected against rate shocks, our air and water are cleaner, and new jobs are created in clean energy businesses. Governor Blagojevich has proposed a requirement that 10% of Illinois’ electricity come from wind power by 2015. He has led by example by pledging to power the buildings under his control in Springfield exclusively by wind energy. His energy plan includes provisions to encourage cellulosic ethanol development, and energy efficiency programs to save consumers and businesses money by saving energy.

Illinois is doing more to keep our drinking water clean and ensure that we have enough for everyone. Under Governor Blagojevich, Illinois has moved to control phosphorus pollution, which threatens drinking water and wildlife across our state. Illinois is also moving to make sure that we have enough ground and surface water for drinking, for agriculture, for industry, and for wildlife.

Finally, Illinois is serious about addressing the threats posed by global warming. While top scientists tell us we may only have ten years to do something about global warming before it becomes irreversible, Washington has their head in the sand and their hand out to special interests. With as little as ten years to reverse this problem, we can’t wait for change in Washington, we need to start now here in Illinois. This week the Governor announced the first step in a major effort to combat climate change, beginning with a commitment to reduce state government’s emissions of global warming pollution. Illinois is the first state in the Midwest to make that commitment. We know that Governor Blagojevich is committed to developing a comprehensive program to reduce Illinois’ contribution to global warming by regulating carbon emissions. We look forward to working with him and his team to come up with a solution that works best for Illinois.

The Sierra Club endorsement is a hard one to get. We do not make an endorsement in every race, but only the ones in which we find a candidate who truly shares our values, and who is willing to put the public’s interest in a clean environment above the special interests that too often dominate our politics. We do not endorse the lesser of two evils, we choose the strongest of champions. Four years ago, Governor Blagojevich became the first Illinois Governor to be endorsed by the Sierra Club, and we are proud to announce that he has earned our support again, and the support of all Illinois voters who value clean air, clean water, and Illinois’ natural heritage.

I have been working my whole adult life to encourage the State of Illinois to take strong action to protect our environment. Historically, Illinois has lagged behind – too often the goal would be to do the least we could to comply with the law Under Governor Blagojevich, however, Illinois a is emerging as a national leader in promoting innovative solutions to environmental problems. We no longer ask “what’s the least we can do”, and instead ask “what’s the best we can do.”

The people of Illinois want clean air and clean water. They know that our old energy policies have given them high prices, high pollution levels, and threats to our national security. They are hungry for solutions. Over the last four years, Governor Blagojevich has been working to promote those solutions, and Sierra Club is proud to recommend him to pro-environment voters across Illinois.

Originally posted at


George Panageotopolous,  7:38 AM  

I consider myself an environmentalist.

I also follow politics as a hobby.

I have some serious doubts about the Sierra Club and their impact and strategy. It appears that the Sierra Club has some class and race issues before it can be effective.

I was reviewing the campaign literature of Debra Shore as an example, and went on her still existing website. She did not have one specific proposal for the Water Reclamation District. She had some general information on water as an important resource and I saw her talk maybe a half a dozen times (I supported another candidate in that race who I thought was very good and had the best financial approach and had the most municipal and legal experience but he never caught steam) and the only issue she had was permeable surfaces, not as they related to the District but for her personal driveway and as a general issue. Another candidate, who I did not agree with politically on other issues, was presenting specific proposals about the District and one issue he discussed has been in the papers recently about the affect on aqautic life and specifically the change in DNA of fish due to prescription drugs and other items. But the Sierra Club had a myopic policy of only dealing with one candidate, one candidate without any specific policy prescriptions.

I am a Democrat, and supported the Sierra Club backed Forest Claypool. I helped Forest Claypool who was also supporting my candidate for Reclaimation District. Forest should have won.
But the Sierra Club is not helping Tony Peraica, even though he has an outstanding environmental record and has a voting record identical to that of Forest Claypool and in speeches talks about not selling Forest Preserve land and the Forest Preserve being the lungs. Todd Stroger is no friend of the environment.

Rod Blagojevich did some good things, and his environmental record is OK, but I think most people have some problems with his honesty and specific scandals. I am going to stick by Blagojevich and vote for him but I am not excited. There are a lot of environmental problems still in Illinois.

Daley's recycling program is an abject failure but in terms of the environment his bycicle paths and green roofs are great. The Lake looks much better and what I hear from friends more involved than I is that the Chicago River and at least the lakefront are cleaner than they were 10 years ago.

The Sierra Club needs to reach out to more and different types of people and stop being perceived (through their actions) as a clubby exclusive groups that lacks integrity in their endorsement process.

Anonymous,  8:05 AM  

Just ask anyone who attended the Illinois Environmental Leadership Dinner in Chicago and heard all three candidates speak, Blagojevich is absolutely the wrong choice if you are concerned about the environment in Illinois. Rich Whitney, the Green Party's candidate for Illinois Governor, is a far superior choice!

Anonymous,  8:13 AM  

The Sierra Club needs to stop refusing to endorse candidates that aren't members of the Democratic or Republican parties. The best candidate for Illinois Governor, with the strongest stance on their issues, is obviously Rich Whitney, the Green Party's candidate for Illinois governor. Instead, the Sierra Club decides to engage in partisan political campaign intervention by showing preference and bias for Democratic and Republican candidates. A good deal of environmentalists are upset about this, and there is now talk of them withdrawing their membership in the Sierra Club, in mass, and refusing to contribute until this stops.

fed up dem,  10:20 AM  

Rod promises a lot, but his budget gimmicks will soon be coming home to roost on the backs of Illinois taxpayers. I wouldn't count on any of his promises, particularly if he faces criminal charges in the future (which seems quite likely). the Sierra Club's endorsement of this political weasel only serves to erode its credibility.

Anonymous,  11:08 AM  

Are you equally sure that Gov. Quinn will be better for the environment? 'Cos he's who's gonna finish the next term, that's for sure.

Richard T,  12:46 PM  

Pat Quinn would be a better candidate for the environment.

The Green candidate would be a better candidate for the environment.

Have you ever been to the 10th ward and seen the environmental degredation there!!!! What has Rod done again?

Some in the environmental community are oppossed to minority population growth, immigration, a kind of Margaret Sanger Eugenics mentality and xenophobia but some others are just rich white bred bird watchers who don't interact with the more blue collar Paraica or the more ethnic or minority candidates.

Anonymous,  12:56 PM  

George - The Sierra Club did NOT endorse Claypool....until their candidate (Quigley) dropped out. This time they've gone for someone who is going to be indicted, and they seem to accept that. Sometimes I do wonder who is making these decisions.

The MWRD race is so convoluted it's not comparable to other elections. I think I talked to your guy; he obviously placed too much emphasis on his ballot position. Debra Shore simply spent over a year getting name recognition, which is about all one can hope for in that race.

Richard t - The Sierra Club is not about birdwatching - that's Audubon. In fact, the Sierrans seem not to care about nature at all.

Anonymous,  4:04 PM  


I disagree with your assessment that the Sierra Club is not endorsing the lesser of two evils.

While he has dedicated more attention to issues of our environment than others, it remains to be seen what will come of Blago's "talk" in this arena.

That, and the fact he has tried raiding open space funds (OSLAD, etc) the past several years is a major disappointment.

NW burbs,  4:04 PM  

Sorry, the 4:04pm comment was from me.

- NW Burbs

NW burbs,  4:06 PM  

Richard T wrote "The Green candidate would be a better candidate for the environment."

Considering that Rich Whitney makes fun of environmentalism, I doubt that.

NW burbs,  4:10 PM  


I doubt you heard Deb Shore speak that often. If you had, you would understand that her driveway was simply a personal example of how she came to be interested in running for a position on the MWRD board.

She had plenty of specific proposals for reviving MWRD and bringing its mission up to date for the new millenium. Til now MWRD has been all about what happens after stormwater gets into the the gutter and drain.

Deb Shore has some concrete examples of how to deal with water in a smarter way -- before it even gets to the gutter. Permeable surfaces is one very good example. Her ideas on rain barrels and other easy to do proposals are other strong options on how to bring MWRD up to date.

Nick,  11:45 PM  

Name one specific proposal that Deb Shore had???

"She had plenty of specific proposals for reviving MWRD and bringing its mission up to date for the new millenium. Til now MWRD has been all about what happens after stormwater gets into the the gutter and drain"
NW Suburbs

"Deb Shore has some concrete examples of how to deal with water in a smarter way -- before it even gets to the gutter. Permeable surfaces is one very good example. Her ideas on rain barrels and other easy to do proposals are other strong options on how to bring MWRD up to date"
NW Suburbs

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