Environment & Weather
Governor Quinn Requests Federal Assistance to Speed Recovery from Flash Flooding in Northwest Illinois PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Katelyn Tye   
Monday, 29 August 2011 09:08

Would Help Carroll, Jo Daviess and Stephenson Counties

CHICAGO – August 26, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today requested federal assistance to help people, businesses and local governments in Carroll, Jo Daviess and Stephenson counties recover from flash flooding in late July. In a letter to President Barack Obama, Governor Quinn requested federal assistance to help local governments in the three counties recoup 75 percent of their disaster-related expenses. Governor Quinn also requested assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to help people and businesses in Jo Daviess and Stephenson counties that were affected by the 15 inches of rainfall.

“The people in Northwest Illinois have suffered through three major weather-related disasters in the past 12 months,” Governor Quinn said. “With many roads washed out and hundreds of homes damaged, federal assistance is needed to help these communities quickly recover.”

Earlier this week, representatives from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) met with local government representatives in the three counties to review flood and storm-related expense information, including costs for emergency protective measures, debris removal and repair or replacement of government-owned facilities. That review determined that local government expenses related to the flooding total more than $7.5 million.

Representatives from IEMA, FEMA and the SBA also toured the area this week to assess damage to homes and businesses. Governor Quinn used information from the damage assessments to certify that Jo Daviess and Stephenson counties each had at least 25 homes or businesses that have sustained uninsured losses of 40 percent or more, as required for SBA assistance.

If Governor Quinn’s request is approved, low-interest loans would be available to people and businesses in Jo Daviess and Stephenson counties, as well as adjacent Carroll County.

On August 10, Governor Quinn declared the three counties state disaster areas and pledged the state’s commitment to helping the area recover.


Disaster Aid to Iowa after Severe Storms, Straight-line Winds and Flooding PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 26 August 2011 08:50

WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley today said that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has issued a major disaster declaration for several Iowa counties including Benton, Clay, Dickinson, Marshall, Story and Tama counties.  This declaration triggers the release of federal funds to help communities in this area recover from the severe storms, straight-line winds and flooding which occurred July 9 – 14, 2011.  According to FEMA, additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and it is warranted by the results of further damage assessments.

FEMA will now provide public assistance to Benton, Clay, Dickinson, Marshall, Story and Tama counties through the Public Assistance Program.  The Public Assistance Program assists state and local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities.

All Iowa counties are also eligible to apply for assistance through the Hazard Mitigation Grant program.  The Hazard Mitigation Grant program assists state and local governments and certain private non-profit organizations for actions taken to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural hazards.

Grassley sent a letter to President Obama asking him to grant Governor Terry Branstad’s request to declare Iowa a major disaster area as a result of the severe storms, flooding and tornadoes that began on July 9, 2011.


Governor Quinn Signs Three Bills to Protect Illinois’ Water Supplies PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Katelyn Tye   
Thursday, 25 August 2011 10:11

New Laws Will Reduce Pharmaceuticals in Drinking Water, 
Allow Recycled Water to be Used for Non-Consumption Purposes

CHICAGO – August 24, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today signed three bills to improve Illinois environment and water systems. The Governor signed House Bills 2056 and 3090 to improve and enhance pharmaceutical collection and disposal programs, as well as House Bill 248, to allow recycled, treated wastewater to be used for non-consumption purposes, such as watering golf courses. 

“Pure and plentiful drinking water is every Illinois citizen’s right,” Governor Quinn said. “These bills will help Illinois conserve water, protect the safety of our drinking water supplies and ensure that unused medications are disposed of properly.”

Large-scale, non-consumption irrigation projects – such as the maintenance of parks and golf courses – use enormous quantities of drinking-quality water. House Bill 248, sponsored by Rep. Karen May (D-Highland Park) and Sen. Susan Garrett, (D-Lake Forest), allows the North Shore Sanitary District to supply sustainable, environmentally-friendly treated wastewater to identified partners. The recycled wastewater will save large volumes of treated drinking water.

House Bill 2056, sponsored by Rep. Joann Osmond (R-Antioch) and Sen. Suzi Schmidt (R-Lake Villa), creates a pharmaceutical collection and disposal program to ensure safe disposal of excess prescription medication. The legislation began as an initiative of students from Pontiac and Antioch High Schools, both of which have been active in efforts to collect and properly dispose of unused pharmaceuticals.  The program is designed as a collaborative effort between communities, local pharmacies, police departments, hospitals, city officials and students to educate the public about the misuse and abuse of pharmaceuticals, as well as discarded pharmaceuticals’ impact on the environment. Numerous studies have shown that residue from many pharmaceuticals can be found in both drinking water sources and in finished drinking water.

House Bill 3090, sponsored by Rep. Luis Arroyo, (D-Chicago) and Sen. William Delgado (D-Chicago), allows a city, village, or municipality to authorize the use of its city hall or police department to display containers suitable for use as a receptacles for used, expired or unwanted pharmaceuticals.

"Every year families are left with excess prescription drugs that could be harmful if they are accessible to children who may accidently swallow them or youths who may use the drugs to get high," Senator Delgado, Chairman of the Senate Public Health Committee said. "This legislation will allow for additional locations where people can safely dispose of prescription drugs that have expired or are not needed. This initiative addresses a vital public health and safety issue."

House Bill 248 is effective immediately. House Bills 2056 and 3090 take effect Jan. 1.


Visitors Can Discover Tallgrass Prairie This September Through Ranger-guided Walks and Volunteering PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Adam Prato   
Tuesday, 23 August 2011 10:05
WEST BRANCH, IOWA—Visitors to Herbert Hoover National Historic Site will have a couple of different opportunities this September to experience the park’s 81-acre tallgrass prairie. “September is one of the most brilliant months in the prairie,” said park superintendent Pete Swisher. “It’s when flocks of monarch butterflies may be found among yellow goldenrods and purple asters. Our ranger-guided walks and volunteer projects are good opportunities for people to bring their questions about the prairie and the park, and to learn in more detail about our natural and cultural resources.”

On Labor Day Monday, September 5 at Herbert Hoover National Historic Site national park rangers will lead guided walks of the 81-acre tallgrass prairie. Visitors can discover how and why the National Park Service is restoring this endangered habitat as part of the landscape commemorating Herbert Hoover’s life. The walk is less than a mile and lasts about one hour. The walks will start at 9:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Meet at the Gravesite Parking Lot. Bring water, dress for the weather, and wear comfortable
walking shoes. Water, sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, and insect repellent are recommended. Parking is limited so please allow extra time to find a parking space.

On Saturday, September 24, Herbert Hoover National Historic Site will participate in National Public Lands Day with a volunteer project in the 81-acre tallgrass prairie. Volunteers are needed to help remove trees, shrubs, and weeds from the grassland, or with other projects to improve the park landscape. Volunteers interested in helping on September 24 may contact Adam Prato at (319) 643-7855. Work in the prairie will be from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Meet at the Visitor Center at 8:30 a.m. for an orientation and to get signed up. Dress for the weather and wear comfortable work clothes. Water, sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, and insect repellent are recommended. Long pants and closed-toe footwear are required.

By the time of Herbert Hoover’s birth in 1874, the tallgrass prairie in eastern Iowa was already mostly converted to farmland. The National Park Service began reconstructing the endangered habitat at Herbert Hoover National Historic Site in the 1970s. The deep-rooted native prairie plants help control erosion and runoff in the national park that is the home to Herbert Hoover’s birthplace, gravesite, and Presidential Library and Museum. The prairie also provides open space and a natural setting to commemorate Herbert Hoover’s contributions conserving public lands. During Hoover’s presidency, the size of our national forests expanded by more than two million acres, and the land designated for new national parks and monuments increased by 40 percent.

Herbert Hoover National Historic Site and the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum are in West Branch, Iowa at exit 254 off I-80. Both are open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Time. Parking is limited so please allow extra time to find a parking space. For more information about visiting go online to www.nps.gov/heho or call (319) 643-2541.

Braley Tours Flood Damage in Dubuque & Jackson Counties PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Kira Ayish   
Monday, 22 August 2011 08:27

Briefed by city and county officials on damage and recovery efforts

Dubuque, IA –Today, Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) toured Dubuque and Jackson Counties to see flood damage these areas sustained from severe storms that occurred July 27-29, 2011. 

Rep. Braley met with Dubuque City and County officials as he visited areas damaged by the floods last month. He received an update on the damage that occurred to city infrastructure including several bridges and the wastewater treatment facility in Dubuque.  Additionally, he toured flood damage at the Swiss Valley Park & Campground and received an update on flood recovery efforts by local officials who are working on public infrastructure and potential buyouts of private residences. In Jackson County, Rep. Braley was briefed by county officials and toured county roads and bridges that sustained damage during the recent floods.

“As people in these communities continue rebuilding from these storms, I encourage them to contact my office for any help they may need,” said Rep. Braley. “I know navigating through government red tape during a time of recovery is the last thing people want to worry about. I’m here to make sure that Iowans get the help they need.”

Earlier this month, Rep. Braley led an Iowa House delegation letter to President Obama urging him to support Gov. Branstad’s request to declare Dubuque and Jackson counties major disaster areas as a result of the severe storms and flooding that took place in these counties.

“Dubuque and Jackson suffered serious damage from the storms that occurred last month. These storms severely damaged Iowa schools, hospitals, fire stations and other infrastructure critical to these communities,” said Rep. Braley. “I strongly urge President Obama to declare these counties disaster areas so they are eligible for the support they need in order to rebuild as quickly as possible.”

As these communities begin to recover and rebuild, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has made low-interest disaster loans available to residents and business owners impacted by these storms and flooding. Disaster loans of up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans of up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property, and businesses and non-profit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged property or other business assets.


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