Harold: Attorney General Can't 'Choose Winners and Losers' In Business | WGLT

Harold: Attorney General Can't 'Choose Winners and Losers' In Business

Aug 21, 2018

Republican candidate for attorney general Erika Harold says her recent comments at a coal energy conference in southern Illinois are not a signal she wants to ease up on environmental law enforcement.

Speaking this month in Marion at the Coal & Mining Expo, Harold said “the last thing that Illinois needs is another attorney general who will do the bidding of the environmentalist activist groups.” She was referring to her Democratic rival, Kwame Raoul, and his sponsorship of a bill (SB 3005) that would change who can challenge state-agency decisions, including those impacting the environment.

The bill hasn’t passed. Appearing Monday on GLT’s Sound Ideas, Harold said the bill would’ve allowed “people who don’t even live in Illinois to challenge (permitting) decisions issued by Illinois agencies.” (The Illinois Environmental Council has disputed Harold’s reading of the bill.)

“It’s not the job of the attorney general to choose winners and losers. Illinois benefits from having a multiplicity of energy sources. All of those companies must comply with the law because everyone wants to make sure we have clean air, clean water, and make sure all companies are complying with Illinois’ environmental standards,” Harold said. “(This bill) I don’t believe that actually helps the interests of all Illinoisans. It just adds to a litigious environment that makes it more unpredictable for entities going through the permitting process.”

Harold was in Bloomington-Normal on Monday to appear at the McLean County Republican Party’s Women of the GOP event. Harold is also expected to be in Normal later this week for an Illinois Farm Bureau event.

Harold’s visits come a week after the release of her latest video ad. It takes aim at House Speaker Mike Madigan—a frequent target for Republican candidates—and Raoul simultaneously. Harold’s ad tries to link public corruption with higher taxes by linking Madigan and Raoul’s shared support for a property tax bill impacting Chicago with Madigan’s law firm and its work on property tax appeals.

Harold said the property tax system in Illinois is “riddled with conflicts of interest,” including Madigan’s. In the past Madigan’s spokesperson has denied any conflict of interest and said he follows all ethics laws.

“What I was challenging (in the ad) was the fact that Sen. Raoul has not sought to reform the system while he’s been in Springfield the past 14 years. In fact, he’s sought measures that would exacerbate the problem,” she said.

Harold’s 20-minute interview on Sound Ideas covered a wide range of topics, including criminal justice reform, legalizing the adult use of recreational marijuana, and the role of the attorney general’s office in curbing the opioid epidemic. Listen to the full interview below or Tuesday at noon and 6 p.m. on 89.1 FM or streaming WGLT.org.

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