Environment & Weather
EPA decision to continue violating Administrative Procedure Act PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 22 November 2013 15:59
Friday, November 22, 2013

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has decided to enforce guidance on wastewater treatment as if it were a binding rule without going through the proper rulemaking process for all areas of the country except for the 8th Circuit, where it lost a court case.  Earlier, the EPA confirmed it was enforcing the new requirement in correspondence with Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit invalidated the EPA’s action, deciding that EPA changed its policy without notice and comment, as required by law.  Now, the EPA says it will implement that decision only in the 8th Circuit.  The agency will continue to enforce guidance on wastewater treatment as if it were a formal rule, in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act, in the rest of the country.

Sen. Grassley and Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, have been critical of the EPA’s action.  They made the following comments on the latest decision from the EPA.

Grassley comment:  “The EPA tried to violate basic rule-making procedures and got caught.  Now, the agency is enforcing the violation everywhere except for the court circuit where it lost its case.  This isn’t the way to conduct agency business.  The rules are in place for good reason.  They’re meant to keep the public involved and informed of major decision-making and hold agencies accountability for their decisions.  The EPA should have followed the letter of the law.”

Vitter comment:  “The EPA is trying to sneak in a burdensome, new water treatment regulation despite the Courts ruling against them. They need to unambiguously and fairly apply the invalidation of this illegal water treatment regulation on a national level.”

 
Lt. Governor Simon to survey storm damage in Gifford, Brookport and call for donations PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Annie Thompson   
Friday, 22 November 2013 11:47

GIFFORD – Lt. Governor Sheila Simon on Friday will survey tornado damage in the towns of Gifford and Brookport and call for donations to assist recovery going into the holiday season. Simon participated this week in the Help on the Homefront telethon that raised more than $786,000 for the American Red Cross, and more support is needed. As of Thursday, Governor Pat Quinn had declared 15 counties disaster areas, and teams are conducting assessments to seek federal assistance.

 

“The cleanup and rebuilding in these rural communities will not happen overnight, and we need to all lend a hand," said Simon. "I encourage everyone to dig into their pockets and help support the tremendous task ahead."

 

FRIDAY, NOV. 22

 

EVENT: Survey of Gifford storm recovery

TIME: 10:15 a.m.

LOCATION: Gifford Fire Station, 404 N. Main St., Gifford

 

EVENT: Survey of Brookport storm recovery

TIME: 3:45 p.m.

LOCATION: First Baptist Church, 700 Pell St., Brookport

 

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Chad Pregracke is the 2013 CNN Hero of the Year PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Nora Coyne-Logan   
Thursday, 21 November 2013 13:06

Thank you! It was announced Tuesday night that Chad Pregracke, a Quad Cities native, is the 2013 CNN Hero of the Year.

There were tens of thousands of people who spoke out passionately and took action to get Chad Pregracke recognized as the 2013 CNN Hero of the Year. Some because they are passionate about keeping America’s rivers clean and others are moved and inspired by his humility, energy, determination, work ethic and sincerity.  Regardless of your motivation to support, vote and encourage others to rally behind Chad, the truth is, while Chad leads the charge and is relentless and driven; it’s with his staff, crew, board, sponsors, media, YOU and more than 70,000 volunteers who are the difference makers.

The generosity and support that helped propel Living Lands & Waters and Chad to be voted as the 2013 CNN Hero is overwhelming. From his hometown, Quad Cities, to up and down the Mississippi River and beyond through our sponsors and colleges who have worked with us, to all of their friends and family from all over the country, people came together and made a statement to the world that our environment is important and keeping our rivers clean is what really matters.  Thank you for your votes, support and validating Chad’s work and passion for the past 15 years. Thank you for being a part of a grass roots movement that has garnered international recognition. Thank you for making a difference.

 
Governor Quinn Adds Fayette and Vermilion Counties to State Disaster Declaration PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Grant Klinzman   
Thursday, 21 November 2013 08:34

Warns Tornado Survivors of Dangers of Sleeping in Vehicles

SPRINGFIELD – Governor Pat Quinn today declared Fayette and Vermilion counties state disaster areas, bringing to 15 the number of Illinois counties to receive the designation after several tornadoes ravaged the state on Sunday. Other counties declared state disaster areas by Governor Quinn include Champaign, Douglas, Grundy, Jasper, LaSalle, Massac, Pope, Tazewell, Wabash, Washington, Wayne, Will and Woodford counties.

“The initial damage reports continue to pour into the State Emergency Operations Center, illustrating just how far-reaching these deadly storms were,” Governor Quinn said. “Illinois will recover and we will rebuild our communities, but we expect the total number of homes damaged and destroyed will exceed 1,500. That’s why it is so important for those who have been impacted in our hardest-hit areas to document damages and save their receipts in order to qualify for future assistance.”

The state disaster declaration makes available a wide variety of state resources that can help affected communities respond and recover from the storms. The state of Illinois has personnel and assets that can be mobilized to help local government officials with disaster recovery, including such things as trucks, heavy equipment to remove debris, communications equipment and assistance with security and other public safety issues.

On Monday, Governor Quinn personally inspected the damage in some of Illinois' hardest hit communities: Washington, Diamond, Gifford, Brookport and New Minden.

Governor Quinn also urged people whose homes were heavily damaged or destroyed to stay with friends, family, at a local shelter or in a hotel, and not in their vehicles. State officials have heard reports of people sleeping in their vehicles, which can result in serious health effects or death if carbon monoxide builds up in a running vehicle.

“You cannot see or smell carbon monoxide, but at high levels it can kill a person in minutes,” Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck said. “We want to help people stay safe and healthy as we pick up and rebuild in communities around the state. Do not stay or sleep in your car if your home has been damaged. Instead, take advantage of the shelters and other resources available.”

Carbon monoxide is produced whenever any fuel such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood or charcoal is burned.  People who have lost power and are heating their homes using an appliance that burns fuel should make sure the appliances are working properly and are being used correctly.  Hundreds of people die accidentally every year from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by malfunctioning or improperly used fuel-burning appliances.

Symptoms of mild to moderate carbon monoxide poisoning may resemble winter flu and can include headaches, dizziness, nausea and lethargy. Higher levels of exposure can cause fainting, confusion and collapse. If exposure to carbon monoxide continues, death can result.

For more information about disaster recovery resources, visit Ready.Illinois.gov.

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Governor Quinn Announces FEMA Tornado Damage Assessments Will Begin November 21 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Brooke Anderson   
Wednesday, 20 November 2013 08:52

Documentation Will Support Request for Federal Assistance

SPRINGFIELD – Governor Pat Quinn today announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will begin damage assessments on Thursday, November 21 in several Illinois counties devastated by Sunday’s tornadoes and severe storms. The assessments were requested by the Governor and will provide the documentation necessary to support a request for federal assistance.

“The state of Illinois is doing everything necessary to ensure that every community impacted by these deadly tornados can rebuild and recover,” Governor Quinn said. “These teams will gather information to help us quickly submit a federal disaster assistance request.”

Five teams comprising personnel from FEMA, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), the U.S. Small Business Administration and local emergency management agencies will begin assessing damage to homes and businesses in Champaign, Grundy, Massac, Pope, Tazewell and Will counties on Thursday. The teams will continue until they have assessed damage in these counties plus the others that Governor Quinn declared state disaster areas – Douglas, Jasper, LaSalle, Pope, Wabash, Washington, Wayne and Woodford.

Assessment teams from IEMA and FEMA will begin meeting with local government officials in early December to collect information about disaster-related expenses they incurred. That information could be used to support a state request for federal assistance to reimburse units of government for 75 percent of their eligible expenses.

Governor Quinn on Monday surveyed damage and met with local officials in the severely impacted communities of Washington, Diamond, Gifford, Brookport and New Minden.

Governor Quinn activated the State Incident Response Center on Sunday to coordinate the deployment of state personnel and assets to assist local governments in the affected areas. The state’s tornado response is coordinated by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. State assistance provided to tornado-impacted communities to date includes:

·         Personnel from IEMA to the affected communities to assist with response and recovery issues.

·         Four Technical Rescue Teams were sent to Washington.

·         One Technical Rescue Team was sent to Gifford.

·         Two three-man engine companies will work 12-hour shifts through Wednesday in Gifford to provide much-needed relief to the town’s firefighters.

·         More than 40 light towers have been delivered to assist with nighttime operations in Washington (26), Pekin (6), Gifford (10) and Brookport (2).

·         Command vehicles have been deployed to Washington and Pekin to support response operations.

·         Gifford was assisted with public water supply interruption.

·         Law enforcement support has come from the Illinois State Police, Illinois Department of Natural Resources conservation officers and Illinois Commerce Commission officers.

·         One five-person Emergency Management Assistance Team support trailer and 10 Starcom radios have been provided to Brookport.

·         40 Starcom 21 radios have been provided to assist Washington responders with emergency communications.

·         A programmable sign board from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to Gifford for emergency information

In addition, IDOT and the Illinois Department of Corrections are coordinating with local officials to provide assistance with clean up of debris in tornado-impacted communities.

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