Environment & Weather
Loebsack Statement on the Keystone Pipeline Vote PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Vonnie Hampel   
Monday, 12 January 2015 09:59

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement today after the House voted on the Keystone Pipeline.

“I have long subscribed to the belief that the best course of action regarding energy policy is to move from fossil fuels to renewable forms of energy as quickly and as feasibly as possible. I understand the concerns about the potential impact of the Keystone XL pipeline proposal. At the same time, any decision such as the one regarding Keystone is hardly a simple or easy one to make. Environmental concerns are important, but so are other factors.

“In my mind, one of the most important reasons is the infrastructure jobs that will be created due to the construction of the pipeline. I am fully aware of the short-term nature of the 40,000 plus jobs that will be created by this project. But I cast my vote today in favor of creating these jobs that can’t be shipped overseas and for the countless hardworking men and women who put their hard hats on every morning so that they can put food on the table and help their children pay for college. We have seen Wall Street recover, yet working folks across Iowa and America continue to wait their turn. Our focus must continue to be on improving the economy, getting Americans back to work, and moving our country forward. It is unfortunate that Republicans have refused to move any comprehensive jobs legislation to keep jobs from going overseas.  A good first start would be an immediate consideration of a long-term transportation bill so American workers can get back to work and the U.S. economic recovery can be further enhanced.

“Additionally, today’s vote marks only the beginning of the work Congress must do on energy policy during the next session and in the years beyond.  First, we must do all we can to reduce carbon at its sources and ensure that polluters bear the costs of their action.  This can be done by imposing a carbon fee on the pollution emitted by the use of fossil fuels, with the revenue generated returned to households.  We also must extend the Production Tax Credit to continue to spur the generation of wind power, extend the Investment Tax Credit to incentivize the development of solar power, and continue other policies to enable the increased use of other renewable forms of energy. These policies will both protect our environment and create hundreds of thousands of jobs across America. These efforts will continue to move our nation on a path that practically and affordably moves us farther from reliance on fossil fuels and towards significantly more use of renewables.”


Governor Quinn Directs State Agencies to Combat Severe Winter Weather PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Katie Hickey   
Wednesday, 07 January 2015 15:46

Opens More than 100 Warming Centers; Readies State Plows in Anticipation of Snowfall; Urges Safety During Severe Low Temperatures

CHICAGO – As Illinois battles severe low temperatures and anticipated snowfall, Governor Pat Quinn today is directing Illinois state agencies to be on high alert to help combat winter storms. The Governor also announced that the state has opened more than 100 warming centers across Illinois to provide shelter for residents from the bitter cold and has more than 1,700 trucks ready to combat the anticipated snow and ice. Today’s announcement is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to keeping all Illinois residents safe and warm this winter.

“During this severe winter weather, our state agencies are on high alert and doing everything they can to help our residents stay safe and warm,” Governor Quinn said. “In addition to utilizing our warming centers, I urge residents to stay safe on the roads and take special precautions like dressing in layers during the severe low temperatures and expected snowfall.”

The warming centers are located at Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) offices throughout the state. IDHS warming centers are open to the public during regular business hours, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. To find a warming center near you, call the IDHS hotline at (800) 843-6154 or visit www.keepwarm.illinois.gov.

The Governor also directed the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to ready more than 1,768 trucks and more than 3,700 employees in preparation of the anticipated snowfall overnight. The statewide fleet will help remove anticipated snow and ice on 1,245 state routes that will create hazardous driving conditions over next few days. Motorists are advised to be on alert for slick roadways and to take extra precautions when traveling.

“The Illinois Department of Transportation is fully prepared to respond to the winter weather heading our way,” Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Erica Borggren said. “While our top priority always is to make sure our roadways are safe as possible, we also ask the motoring public to pay close attention to the changing conditions. Please be prepared to reduce your speed and build some extra time into your schedules. During storms or when temperatures are extremely low, travel is not advised unless absolutely necessary.”

National Weather Service forecasters are predicting one to seven inches of snow will fall across the northern half of Illinois starting tonight and into Tuesday morning. Bitterly cold air with wind chills approaching 30 below are forecasted across the entire state through Thursday, significantly reducing the ability of salt to melt snow and ice, particularly during the overnight hours. Throughout the day today, IDOT has been pretreating bridge decks and elevated driving surfaces that are susceptible to icing.

Before traveling, motorists are urged to check for the latest road conditions and road closures at www.gettingaroundillinois.com.

The Illinois Tollway has prepared its full fleet of 185 snowplows and more than 200 staff and supervisors per shift in response to the anticipated snowfall. The Tollway’s Snow Operations Center will also open to manage the agency’s response across its 286-mile system.

“Our plows will be spreading salt and clearing snow to keep our roadways open and ensure the safest possible trip for our customers,” Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur said. “We remind motorists to remain alert and adjust to road conditions during any winter weather by reducing speed, maintaining a safe margin between vehicles and giving Tollway plows the space they need to clear the roads safely and efficiently.”

In addition to working to keep roads free of snow and ice, the Illinois Tollway is providing drivers with information to help them reach their destinations safely during winter weather events. The Illinois Tollway’s Traffic and Incident Management System (TIMS) provides real-time travel times and roadway conditions on over-the-road electronic message signs throughout the Tollway. Real-time roadway incident information including the type of incident, location and impact on traffic is also available on www.illinoistollway.com.

The Illinois State Police (ISP) are warning motorists to plan accordingly and make safety a priority by driving at a safe speed, allowing plenty of distance from other vehicles to safely maneuver, ensuring vehicle lights are functioning properly, watching for snow removal equipment and exiting the road to a safe location if driving conditions become too hazardous.

“Motorists should take every safety precaution while driving during extreme weather conditions, so that they arrive and depart to and from their destinations safely,” ISP Director Hiram Grau said. “Reducing speed, avoiding distractions and paying attention to emergency vehicles—especially when roads and interstates are icy and visibility is reduced—will make driving conditions safer.”

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) encourages travelers to have a vehicle emergency kit that includes water, snack foods, flashlight, blanket, extra warm clothing, sand or kitty litter, shovel, windshield scraper with brush and booster cables. More winter weather survival tips are available at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.

“A vehicle emergency kit is a must-have during the winters in Illinois,” IEMA Director Jonathon Monken said. “If you get stuck or slide off the road, it could be hours before help can reach you. You need to be able to stay safe and warm until that help arrives.”

Governor Quinn and the Illinois Department on Aging are also encouraging relatives and friends to make daily visits or calls to older adults living alone.

Older persons are more susceptible to the cold, so seniors should set their thermostats above 65 degrees. People who lower the thermostat to reduce heating bills risk developing hypothermia, a potentially fatal condition in which the body temperature drops dangerously low. Also at an increased risk are older people who take certain medications, drink alcohol, lack proper nutrition and who have conditions such as arthritis, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson's disease.

The following are some tips that older adults are encouraged to do to best handle cold temperatures:

  • Dress in layers, both indoors and outdoors. Keep active. Make a list of exercises and activities to do indoors.
  • Eat well and drink 10 glasses of water daily; Stock up on non-perishable food supplies, just in case.
  • Keep extra medications in the house. If this is not possible, make arrangements to have someone pick up and deliver your medications.

Snow Emergency - Hazardous Travel Expected PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Mary Thee   
Monday, 05 January 2015 16:32

The National Weather Service is predicting that late this afternoon and tonight a fast moving Alberta Clipper Storm System will move into Scott County, Iowa. The snow may be heavy at times producing several inches of snow a short amount of time.  The bulk of the snow will occur overnight with snowfall totals of 3 to 8 inches expected.   Heavy snow with blowing and drifting will make travel hazardous overnight and into tomorrow.  Travel on rural Scott County Roads is not recommended until County Road crews have a chance to clear them tomorrow morning.


Further inquiries can be directed to the Sheriff’s Office at 563-326-8225 or County Engineer at 563-326-8640

Kelly Van Acker receives UI College of Education commencement award PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Teresa Thorpe   
Tuesday, 30 December 2014 14:39

IOWA CITY, IA (12/30/2014)(readMedia)-- Kelly Van Acker, a native of Muscatine, IA, has graduated with High Distinction from the University of Iowa College of Education.

The College awards degrees "with highest distinction" to students in the highest 2 percent of the graduating class, "with high distinction" to students in the next highest 3 percent, and "with distinction" to the next highest 5 percent. Ranking is based on students' grade point averages for all college level study undertaken before the final registration.

To be eligible for graduation with distinction, students must complete a minimum of 60 s.h. in residence in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, of which at least 45 must have been completed before the student's final registration.

Governor Quinn Takes Bill Action **Tuesday, December 23, 2014** PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Dave Blanchette   
Tuesday, 23 December 2014 16:20

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today took action on the following bill:

Bill No.: SB 3530

An Act Concerning: Employment

Updates and clarifies various employment statutes.

Action: Signed

Effective: Immediately, except that the changes to sections 2201 and 2201.1 of the Unemployment Insurance Act take effect January 1, 2015.


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