Environment & Weather
Simon joined by neighboring Lt. Governors in fight for education and waterway reforms PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Ted Nelson   
Friday, 21 March 2014 15:34

SPRINGFIELD - March 19, 2014. Lt. Governor Sheila Simon is backing a package of resolutions with the lieutenant governors of Indiana and Wisconsin aimed at combating the spread of nuisance species in Midwest waterways and encouraging the completion of college. The bipartisan resolutions backed by Simon, Sue Ellspermann (R-IN) and Rebecca Kleefisch (R-WI) will be taken up at the National Lieutenant Governors Association’s Federal-State Relations Meeting  this week in Washington D.C.

“We may be Lieutenant Governors from different states, but education and protecting our waterways are important to us all,” said Simon. “Good things happen when we work together. Through our continued partnerships, I believe we can make significant progress toward improving college completion and fighting the Asian carp problem.”

Working closely with Indiana Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann, Simon is encouraging states to implement Guided Pathways to Student Success to increase the number of students completing college degrees and certificates. Their resolution specifically recommends that other lieutenant governors work with their respective higher education boards, colleges and universities to provide simple, easy to navigate routes to degree completion.

To address the growing challenge of aquatic nuisance species in the Great Lakes Region, Simon partnered with Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch to take on problems that pose a danger to both the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River Basin. The Simon and Kleefisch resolution calls for cooperation and support of a cost-effective, environmentally-friendly means to preserve regional waterways while maintaining trade and commerce.

“It’s important that the Great Lakes states work together to protect our waterways and the thousands of family-supporting jobs that rely on them for shipping, commercial and sport fishing, and tourism,” Kleefisch said. “This resolution is one example of the multi-state partnership that’s vital to solving this problem in a smart, cost-effective manner.”

As the state's point person on education reform. Simon is working to increase the proportion of working-age adults with college degrees or certificates to 60 percent by 2025. Simon also chairs three River Coordinating Councils charged with the mission of reviewing state and federal programs that impact the watersheds and working with local communities to raise awareness of and address watershed issues. Copies of both resolutions can be found here.

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Living Lands & Waters seeks volunteers for the MillionTrees Project PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Natalie Linville-Mass   
Friday, 21 March 2014 11:06

Rock Island, IL/March 2014--this March Living Lands & Waters is seeking volunteers to join their forces for  some fun during their annual spring tree wrapping event! The MillionTrees Project began in 2007, and since then has distributed over 600,000 trees to surrounding individuals, families, schools, park districts, businesses, and organizations. The goal of the MillionTrees Projects is to grow and plant 1 million trees. This year, LL&W will be giving out 125,000 trees.

Trees provide shelter and nut-bearing hardwoods are a viable food source for wildlife and migratory birds.  Slow-growing hardwoods, like oaks, have a harder time re-establishing themselves without help, and are often crowded out by faster growing species, like cottonwoods, willow and silver maples. Re-establishing hardwoods helps increase biodiversity, reduce erosion and run-off and improve water and air quality.

“Wrapping over 100,000 trees takes a lot of work” said Chad Pregracke, founder and President of Living Lands & Waters.  Pregracke adds, “It’s a great avenue to help the community and educate people on why trees are important.”

 

This is a great event for all ages, and families. Volunteers will be participating in a variety of activities including bundling trees in newspaper, dipping roots in water, and placing/tying trees in bags. Warm and comfortable clothing is encouraged! This can get messy.

Those interested should show up a the North Hall of the QCCA Expo Center at 2621 - 4th Avenue Rock Island, IL on Thursday, March 27 – Monday, March 31  9am-5pm

Registration is not required, but highly recommended for groups of 10 or more people. Volunteers are invited to work time slots of their choice, and come and go as they please. Please note that participating children must be properly supervised.

To learn more about Living Lands & Waters, visit our website at http://www.livinglandsandwaters.org.  Members of the press may schedule an appointment to interview a crew member by calling or emailing Natalie Linville-Mass at (309) 948-1436 or Natalie@livinglandsandwaters.org.

 

About Living Lands & Waters – Chad Pregracke started Living Lands & Waters in 1998 as a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the beautification and restoration of America’s major rivers and to the education of people about environmental issues. From his single boat beginning, LL&W has grown to an internationally known organization with a fleet of barges and workboats.  LL&W engages thousands of volunteers each year in river cleanups, hands-on environmental education workshops, the Great Mississippi River Cleanup, Adopt-a- River-Mile programs and the Million Trees Project.

For more information about the Million Trees Project - http://livinglandsandwaters.org/get-involved/million-trees/

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Quinn, Durbin, Emanuel Announce More than $128 Million in HUD Disaster Recovery Funding For Chicago Area PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Katie Hickey   
Thursday, 20 March 2014 08:07

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Affairs (HUD) has awarded a total of $128,300,000 in funding through the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Program to communities in the Chicago area for recovery efforts following severe storms and flooding that began on April 18, 2013. This funding was made available through the fiscal year 2013 Sandy Supplemental Appropriations Bill, passed by Congress last year.

“Families throughout Illinois who were inundated by last year’s record floods are still rebuilding and recovering,” said Quinn. “This critical funding will help hundreds of families throughout the Chicago area get back on their feet. I thank President Obama, Senator Durbin and all of the Illinois federal representatives who worked to line up this vital assistance to families who need it.”

“Last April’s severe storms caused some of the worst flooding that I have ever seen in the Chicago area and surrounding counties, and forced hundreds of families to leave their homes,” said Durbin. “In the year since those storms hit, communities throughout the Chicago area have worked hard to recover. This funding will help in those efforts, and is especially critical for those families that lost their homes and are working hard to rebuild their lives.”

“The significant flooding that hit our area last Spring caused extensive disruption and damage to homes and residential areas,” said Emanuel. “This much needed funding will help Chicagoans repair what has been damaged so they can rebuild and move on with their lives.”

Under this announcement, the following communities will receive funding:

·         Cook County, Illinois: $54.9 million dollars;

·         City of Chicago, Illinois: $47.7 million dollars;

·         DuPage County, Illinois: $18.9 million dollars; and

·         State of Illinois: $6.8 million dollars.

HUD's CDBG-Disaster Recovery grant program benefits communities that have experienced a natural disaster. The program is intended to address housing, business and infrastructure needs that have not been met by other forms of public and private assistance, including disaster recovery funding provided through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Small Business Administration (SBA). For more information on the program, please visit: CDBG Disaster Recovery Assistance.

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Loebsack: Comprehensive Plan Needed to Respond to Future Propane Shortages PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Joe Hand   
Tuesday, 11 March 2014 08:42

Calls for coordination among federal and state agencies, governors

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack today called on the House Energy and Commerce Committee to coordinate with relevant federal and state agencies and governors to establish an emergency response plan to address any future propane shortages like those faced in the Midwest this winter. At a hearing today entitled “Benefits of and Challenges to Energy Access in the 21st Century: Fuel Supply and Infrastructure,” Loebsack submitted testimony that calls on the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT), Department of Energy (DOE), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and governors to join together to be able to quickly respond to home heating fuel shortage disasters.

“It is clear from the hodgepodge of steps taken to address the problem that no comprehensive plan exists for all parties to coordinate and to ensure that a fuel supply disaster that threatens the livelihoods of thousands of Iowans never occurs again,” wrote Loebsack. “I am asking the House Energy and Commerce Committee to coordinate the development of an emergency response plan across all relevant federal agencies and state actors and governors to be able to quickly respond to home heating fuel shortage disasters similar to what the Midwest is experiencing this winter.”

The full text of Loebsack’s statement is below.

Congressman Dave Loebsack (IA-02)

Statement for the record

Benefits of and Challenges to Energy Access in the 21st Century: Fuel Supply and Infrastructure

March 6, 2014

“Chairman Upton and Ranking Member Waxman, thank you for the opportunity to submit a statement for today’s hearing on the “Benefits of and Challenges to Energy Access in the 21st Century: Fuel Supply and Infrastructure.”

“This winter, states across the Midwest have seen record high propane prices that have wreaked havoc on Iowan’s pocketbooks and quality of life. While propane prices typically average $1 to $2 per gallon, Iowans have seen this skyrocket to over $4 per gallon, and even top $5 per gallon in some instances. This is unsustainable and unacceptable for Iowa families.  The doubling and tripling of propane prices is causing thousands of Iowans to struggle to make ends meet and to keep their heat on during the extreme cold temperatures experienced this winter. In Iowa, propane is a critical fuel that heats 13 percent of Iowa homes in addition to barns that keep thousands of livestock alive during the winter months.

“Throughout the propane crises in the Midwest, Governors, the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT), Department of Energy (DOE), and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) have taken important steps to expedite the shipments of propane to the Midwest. These steps were critical to providing relief. However, it is clear from the hodgepodge of steps taken to address the problem that no comprehensive plan exists for all parties to coordinate and to ensure that a fuel supply disaster that threatens the livelihoods of thousands of Iowans never occurs again.

“From the National Propane Gas Association’s testimony, there is extreme cause for concern over pipeline infrastructure flows, rail capacity, and exports causing supply restrictions that must be addressed. Consumers who rely on fuels like propane to provide a basic need like heating their homes should not be held victim to the profits of the oil and gas industry. This winter has additionally brought together a storm of crop drying demand and extremely cold temperatures that has contributed to diminished propane supplies. However, with the supply constraints and exports facing the industry, there is no reason a similar fuel supply disaster could not happen again. I am asking the House Energy and Commerce Committee to coordinate the development of an emergency response plan across all relevant federal agencies and state actors including U.S. DOT, FERC, DOE, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Health and Human Services, and governors to be able to quickly respond to home heating fuel shortage disasters similar to what the Midwest is experiencing this winter.

“Thank you again for allowing me to submit my statement today, and I look forward to working with the Committee to address this critically important issue.”

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National Weather Service PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Sandra Stevens   
Wednesday, 05 March 2014 10:04

The Winter 2013/2014 issue of the National Weather Service Quad Cities' newsletter is now available on our website at http://www.weather.gov/quadcities/?n=additional-links#newsletter . This link also contains all past issues of our newsletter.

 

 
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