Environment & Weather
Governor Quinn to Address Annual Tornado and Severe Weather Seminar PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Katie Hickey   
Monday, 07 April 2014 09:46

Will Join WGN’s Tom Skilling and National Weather Service Director to Discuss State Response to Recent Weather Emergencies

BATAVIA – Governor Pat Quinn will be joined by WGN’s Chief Meteorologist Tom Skilling and National Weather Service Director Dr. Louis Uccellini at the Annual Fermilab/WGN Tornado and Severe Storms Seminar this weekend. While there, Governor Quinn will discuss the state’s response to the high number of severe storms that have impacted Illinois over the past several years.

“Illinois has faced a record number of natural disasters in recent years,” Governor Quinn said. “It is critical to ensure our state’s emergency personnel and first responders are always equipped to do what is necessary to keep the public safe when it comes to severe weather. I salute Chicago’s own Tom Skilling for the important work he does to educate the public on the impacts of climate change and importance of preparedness for severe weather.”

The Annual Tornado and Severe Weather Seminar was established to educate Illinois residents of all ages about the dynamics of severe weather. Skilling created the seminar 34 years ago, along with Brian Smith, currently with the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Omaha, Nebraska. Last year, a discussion of climate change with a Nobel Prize winning scientist and other experts was held, and the discussion of the world’s changing climate and its impact on severe weather remains a part of the program.

In the last five years, Illinois has been through 11 natural disasters, including a record drought in 2012; deadly tornadoes in 2012 and 2013; historic winter storms earlier this year; and floods, including the spring 2013 flooding in 49 counties that broke all-time records on four major river systems.

The severe winter weather in January 2014 again saw the mobilization of state resources at Governor Quinn’s direction – stranded motorists were rescued, roads kept open, warming centers provided and assistance offered to keep homes and businesses heated.

On Nov. 17, 2013 a tornado outbreak across Illinois killed eight people, damaged or destroyed 2,500 homes and severely impacted the towns of Brookport, Gifford, New Minden, Diamond and Washington. The state was struck by 25 confirmed tornadoes in three hours, including two EF-4 twisters, the first ever of that strength during November. Just nine days after the tornadoes caused widespread destruction across the state, Governor Quinn successfully secured federal aid to assist people and businesses in 15 affected counties. Following federal denial of additional urgently-needed disaster assistance, Governor Quinn assembled a multi-agency $45 million state relief package to help Illinois local governments recover from the storms.

Following the catastrophic flash floods in April 2013, Governor Quinn also directed state agencies to assist citizens, businesses and local governments to help recover. The Governor mobilized all available state resources to aid in cleanup including debris removal, repairs, sandbagging, evacuations, supply deliveries and a grace period to file tax returns.

Last year, Governor Quinn was appointed to the President’s Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience which will recommend ways to strengthen the way states and the nation respond to natural disasters. The Governor is also currently working with U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and the Congressional delegation to pass legislation to improve the federal formula in the disaster assistance process and help more people rebuild their lives.

Fermilab generously donates its facilities for the annual program, which is expecting to draw nearly 3,000 participants this year. Speakers joining Governor Quinn this year include Dr. Louis Uccellini, Director of the National Weather Service; Dr. Russ Schneider, Director of NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma; Dr. Don Wuebbles, climate researcher from the University of Illinois; Ed Fenelon, Meteorologist in Charge of the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Romeoville; and Meteorologist Matt Friedlein, who discussed the horrific Washington tornado and the record severe weather outbreak which impacted the state in November.

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SPRING TOURS PROVIDED AT RECYCLING CENTER, LANDFILL PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Brandy Walvaert   
Monday, 07 April 2014 09:43

DAVENPORT, IA—Ever wondered what happens to your trash and recyclables after they leave the curb? Now you can see firsthand!

Online registration is open for Waste Commission of Scott County’s spring tours at www.wastecom.com. Tours are free of charge and will be held April 22 (Earth Day) at the Scott Area Recycling Center, Davenport, and April 26 at the Scott Area Landfill, Buffalo. Space is limited and registration is required.

The Commission provides public tours of its facilities in spring and fall. Can’t make it this time? Sign up to receive e-news from the Commission, and you’ll be among the first to know when upcoming dates are announced. E-news signup is online at www.wastecom.com. Once you subscribe, you may unsubscribe at any time.

Waste Commission of Scott County is an inter-governmental agency whose mission is to provide environmentally sound and economically feasible solid waste management for Scott County. For more information about the Commission, please call (563) 381-1300 or visit www.wastecom.com.

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Governor Quinn Encourages “Lights Out” During 2014 Earth Hour on March 29 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Katie Hickey   
Friday, 28 March 2014 10:17

Orders State Facilities to Keep Lights Off Across State

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today urged Illinois residents and businesses to participate in Earth Hour 2014 by turning off their lights for one hour on Saturday, March 29. He also ordered “lights out” from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. that day at many state facilities, including the James R. Thompson Center, Michael A. Bilandic Building, Illinois State Fairgrounds and other state facilities in Springfield, Peoria, Rockford, Champaign, Carbondale and Marion.

“Turning out our lights for Earth Hour will not only conserve energy, it will shine a light on the need to protect our planet,” Governor Quinn said. “We can help preserve our planet for generations to come by being thoughtful about how much power we use. One person can make a difference – especially in addressing climate change.”

Launched in 2007 by the World Wildlife Fund, Earth Hour is a global effort to encourage responsible energy practices by turning off non-essential lights for an hour. Hundreds of millions of people from more than 7,000 cities on seven continents went dark for 60 minutes during the 2013 Earth Hour observance. 

By going dark March 29, state of Illinois buildings will join Chicago’s John Hancock Center and Willis Tower, plus the cities of Chicago, Edwardsville and Orland Park as Earth Hour participants. Chicago was recently recognized as one of three Earth Hour Capitals, earning a $30,000 grant from World Wildlife Federation to kick-start a residential solar purchase program.

Under Governor Quinn, the Illinois Executive Mansion has become one of nation’s greenest governor’s residences. It features solar panels, LED lighting, an electric vehicle charging station and on-site composting.

Through the Illinois Green Governments Coordinating Council, the state saves energy day-in and day-out. The U.S. Green Building Council has ranked Illinois number one among all 50 states in the sustainable building design movement with more than 29 million square feet of certified green buildings, or 2.29 square feet for every Illinois resident. Sustainable building designs utilize less energy and water, which save money for families, businesses and taxpayers; reduce carbon emissions; and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community.

To learn more about Earth Hour, visit www.worldwildlife.org. For more on Illinois’ other environmental initiatives, visit Green.Illinois.gov.

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Braley Continues Fight for Iowa Communities in Effort to Combat Ash Borer PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Kirsten Hartman   
Friday, 28 March 2014 09:00

After the invasive species is identified in nine Iowa counties, Congressman leads bipartisan push to ensure Iowa has same resources as other states  

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today wrote congressional leaders in order to ensure that Iowa would have the same resources as other states as they combat the emerald ash borer—an invasive species that could potentially cause billions of dollars in damage in Iowa.

“Resources were available to other states when they had this problem— and now Iowans deserve the same treatment and I’m going to fight to make sure they get it,” Braley said. “This beetle infestation is a significant cost for communities and homeowners across the state and it’s important we fight to make sure Iowans have the help they need.”

Braley has received bipartisan support for the letter, which is signed by an additional 20 lawmakers, to fight the invasive beetle now confirmed in more than 20 states and at least nine Iowa counties. States that found cases of the beetle in years past were given resources to aid in the mitigation and removal of infected trees, but federal funding has since been drastically cut, leaving states like Iowa with limited resources to combat the problem.

“Because this invasive species has continued to spread each year, this matter should be prioritized and efforts should be targeted to address the damage caused by the emerald ash borer. A failure to do so will undoubtedly result in this costly problem spreading to additional areas, and an even greater demand for financial resources in the future,” Braley’s letter reads.

Each infected ash tree must be removed to maintain safety on public and private land, costing roughly $1000 for the removal and disposal of each tree.  

   

Last month, Braley introduced legislation restoring funding to a program that helps combat the emerald ash borer. 

In January, Braley wrote a letter to Secretary Tom Vilsack at the US Department of Agriculture urging him to take the necessary steps to protect Iowa’s ash trees from the beetle.

Full text of the letter is available below and HERE:


 
4 Great Green Technologies to Celebrate Earth Day PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Wednesday, 26 March 2014 11:00
Environmental Advocate Shares Affordable Gadgets
that Shrink Your Footprint – and Your Bills

Just as intended, the 44th annual celebration of Earth Day on April 22 will be surrounded by talk of our environment, our impact on it and what we can do to better live in harmony with it.

“We’re seeing more and more people who realize that, if each of us does what we can every day,  collectively, we can have a tremendous impact,” says Lynda Chervil, a thought leader and green technology advocate whose new book, “Fool’s Return,” (http://lyndachervil.com/), mirrors real-life efforts to develop sustainable energy sources.

“All the people carrying reusable grocery sacks, people who’ve quit the plastic water bottle habit, folks heating their pools or houses with solar panels – that’s what we should be celebrating this Earth Day.”

This year’s March Gallup Environment poll found that 42 percent of Americans believe the outlook for the environment has improved, up from only 26 percent in 2008.

Chervil, who studies the science behind green technology, says environmental awareness has ramped up production of affordable goods that can shrink individuals’ carbon footprints. She shares four devices she says would make a nice gift for Mother Earth on her day:

•  HybridLight Solar Flashlight: These flashlights never need batteries, can be charged from any light source, and they always work. The 120 lumens model will burn for eight hours on one charge. HybridLight’s flashlights are so reliable, the Boy Scouts’ Utah National Parks Council endorse them – and they come with a lifetime guarantee. For every 10 hours of use, 100 HybridLight flashlights avert 60 pounds of toxic battery landfill waste. An added very cool note – HybridLights has a mission to light up corners of the world with little or no electricity. Recently, the company supplied everyone in a Kenyan village with their own flashlight.  Cost: Prices start at less than $20.

•  Bedol Water Alarm Clock: Imagine a water-powered alarm clock that’s loud enough to scare you out of bed! Bedol’s water clocks run strictly on tap water – no batteries, no nothing else. The energy comes from a natural reaction between the water and two metal plates. The smallest clocks in the line run for six to 12 weeks before the display begins to fade, indicating that the water needs to be changes. Occasionally, you also need to clean the metal plates with vinegar. Just in time for Earth Day, Bedol is launch it’s 12-by-15-inch wall-mount water clock! Cost: Prices start at $19.

•  iGo Green Power Smart Wall: We’ve all heard of the “vampires” in our homes that suck up power whether we’re using them or not – everything from coffee pots to laptops. Stem the bleeding with this surge protector that cuts the suck by up to 85 percent. The unit, which plugs into the wall, has four outlets, two of which are always on. The other two automatically power down when the attached appliance is not in use. Cost: Prices start at about $12.

•  Pama Eco Navigator Satellite Navigation system: This GPS system also saves gasoline by providing you with the most energy-efficient routes to your destinations, and feedback on your car’s performance, so you can adjust your driving habits to improve your gas mileage. It also saves all your routes, so you can assess their fuel efficiency. Cost: Watch for pricing and availability on Amazon.

“Most of these items are not only budget priced, they save you money in batteries, electricity and fuel,” Chervil says. “Not only are you doing something great for the planet when you use green technology, you’re taking a load off your wallet.”

About Lynda Chervil

Lynda Chervil is the author of “Fool’s Return,” http://lyndachervil.com/, a new novel that incorporates valuable life lessons in a page-turning tale that touches on technology, the green movement, and other aspects of contemporary society. She graduated from New York University with a master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications and has extensive experience in consumer and commercial banking and has held positions in new business development, sales management and executive leadership. Chervil seeks to push the limits of established understanding by exploring alternative forms of spiritual healing, and, through creative writing, to expand the narrative of cutting-edge energy technology to promote sustainability.

 
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