Environment and Sustainability | WGLT

Environment and Sustainability

Illinois Reviewing Clean Air Rules

Oct 30, 2015

A spokeswoman for Gov. Bruce Rauner says Illinois environmental officials are working to abide by new federal power plant limits that are being challenged by more than two dozen other states. Rauner responded cautiously after the early August unveiling of President Barack Obama's much-anticipated Clean Power Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from domestic power plants.

Michael Brown / Ecology Action Center

McLean County's latest Household Hazardous Waste collection drew 22% more vehicles than the event held two years ago. Ecology Action Center Director Michael Brown says the 1,600 vehicles tallied was down from the inaugural event in 2012, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Contributions to pay for the collection and disposal of electronics, chemicals, oil paint, and other hazardous waste that should not be handled were more than the estimated $180,000 cost of the event. Brown says he is still developing totals for the amount of materials collected.

Tolono Pulls Plug On Coyote Hunt

Oct 22, 2015
jitze / Flickr via Creative Commons

Officials in the eastern Illinois community of Tolono are dropping the idea of allowing an organized coyote hunt to control the animal's population. Village board members concluded the effort would be futile in an area surrounded by prairie habitat. Others worried that mounting a hunt would risk accidental injuries to bystanders. Trustee Mike Golish explained that ``shells sometimes go not where you're aiming.'' Coyote sightings earlier this year prompted the village to hire a professional trapper. Five coyotes were caught, but the sightings continued.

One McLean County Board member says she hopes the Enbridge oil pipeline through central Illinois can be made more secure. Victoria Harris is urging county staff to study external leak monitors and anything else that has promise.

Enbridge periodically tests the insides of pipelines using robots. But, the company has not installed external leak detectors.

Harris says it is an easy retrofit.

But, industry representatives dispute that.

Radioactive Container Missing

Oct 20, 2015

Authorities are searching for a missing radioactive container in Illinois and Indiana. A southern Illinois logging company reported Friday that it wasn't able to locate a ``radioactive well logging source holder,'' which was last known to be in a company vehicle. The device owned by Wayne County Well Surveys Inc. of Fairfield is silver, measures about 12 inches tall and 14 inches in diameter, and weighs about 75 pounds. It's part of a larger tool used to assess geological formations in oil, gas, groundwater, mineral, and geothermal exploration.

Michael Brown / Ecology Action Center

The Ecology Action Center's Michael Brown plays "Can It Be Recycled" with WGLT's Mike McCurdy and listeners. Just what do you do with a Lava Lamp? Find out as Michael and Mike also talk about this weekend's household hazardous waste collection event.

New Rules On Old Tires

Oct 12, 2015

The Illinois Pollution Control Board has issued new rules about how to handle used tires. State officials say the rules will apply to operators of tire disposal and storage sites and facilities that retread, stamp and die-cut tires. The rules are meant to protect from tire fires and breeding of disease-carrying mosquitoes from standing water in tires. The rules will require operators to change the way they store used tires both indoors and outdoors. The rules also will give emergency responders easier access to tire piles in case there's a fire or other emergency.

Future Of Solar Power Bright

Oct 7, 2015
StraightUp Solar/straightupsolar.com

As politicians stake out their most advantageous positions on Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon pollution from power plants, some are staking out the most profitable positions. That includes coal mine owners, oil companies, and those interested in solar power. WGLT's Jim Browne has more with Shannon Fulton of StraightUp Solar in Bloomington, who is also President of the Illinois Solar Energy Association.

Puny Pumpkin Crop

Oct 6, 2015

Crop experts say there should be enough pumpkins for Halloween, but that supplies of canned pumpkin could be scarce by Thanksgiving. Illinois is the country's top pumpkin-producing state. Mohammad Babadoost is a plant pathology professor at the University of Illinois. He says ``we'll have a pumpkin for everybody'' for Halloween, but cautions that canned pumpkin could run low by Nov. 26's Thanksgiving holiday. He says he'd ``buy it whenever it comes to the store.'' Meanwhile the large canned pumpkin manufacturer Libby says yields in Illinois appear to be less than anticipated this year.

September Warm, But No Record

Oct 5, 2015

The Illinois State Water Survey says last month was the ninth warmest September on record for Illinois. A statement from the research body says the average statewide temperature in September was 70.2 degrees. That's 4 degrees higher than average. The warmest September on record for Illinois came in 1933. That year the average temperature for the month was 72.2 degrees. It also reports the statewide average precipitation for September was 3.42 inches. That's 0.19 inches above average.


  The head of a suburban Chicago school district that evacuated because Legionella was found says there is a lack of public health guidance for schools to help deal with the bacteria. Elgin Area School District CEO Tony Sanders says he didn't receive guidance from state or federal agencies on when it was safe to reopen schools and it ``was incredibly frustrating.'' The district evacuated and shut three schools for three days last month after high levels of Legionella were found in water cooling towers.

The Sierra Club is blasting the Illinois Pollution Control Board for what it calls permissive emissions standards for a Tazewell County coal fired power plant. The environmental group says the U.S. EPA has designated the air in parts of Tazewell and Peoria Counties as unsafe to breathe because of high levels of sulfur dioxide pollution. The major source in the non-attainment area is the Powerton plant near Pekin.

Monsanto Donates For Monarch Rescue

Sep 28, 2015

A national wildlife group says it is doling out $3.3 million in grants as part of an initial push to stem the worrisome decline of monarch butterflies. The 22 grants announced by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation will be matched by more than $6.7 million from the recipients, who are in at least a dozen states including Illinois. The money is meant to restore up to 33,000 U.S. acres of habitat in areas identified by experts as key to monarch butterfly recovery.  

Court Gives Enbridge Pipleline Green Light

Sep 23, 2015

Construction of the controversial Enbridge Pipeline in McLean County has moved closer to completion. An Illinois Appellate Court upheld a lower court's ruling allowing the work to proceed. This, despite outstanding legal issues between the pipeline company and local property owners. Earlier this year, landowners filed suit seeking to halt construction until financial terms with Enbridge could be reached. The Appellate Court upheld McLean County Circuit Court Judge Paul Lawrence's ruling allowing construction to proceed while the property owners' lawsuit is pending.

Fredlyfish4 / Wikimedia Commons

In late July and early August the Constitution Trail comes alive with chirping and buzzing, but most of of those sounds aren't from insects.  Take a listen to Mike McCurdy's recent night time bike ride.