Environment & Weather
Governor Quinn Urges Safe Travel as New Snowstorm Approaches PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Brooke Anderson   
Tuesday, 04 February 2014 11:23

Residents Should Use Extreme Caution While Traveling

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today urged people across Illinois to continue to take necessary precautions to stay safe and warm as the state continues to face a historic winter. As another major snowstorm approaches the area later today, strong measures are being taken by Illinois state agencies to continue keeping roads safe and clear. Today’s update is part of Governor Quinn’s commitment to keeping all Illinois residents safe and warm this winter

“I urge everyone to take precautions at home and on the road as another major snowstorm heads our way,” Governor Quinn said. "If you must travel, please drive carefully. Our public safety workers have been working night and day to keep people safe and everyone must do their part to keep them safe as well."

The National Weather Service forecasts snow accumulations of five to nine inches throughout Illinois. Forecasters also warn of high winds up to 25 mph in some areas. The anticipated winter weather will create slick and dangerous travel conditions for motorists.

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Illinois Tollway will have their crews working around the clock to keep roads clear and passable. IDOT is readying its fleet of 1,755 snowplows and 3,700 employees ahead of the next winter storm to remove snow and ice. The Tollway is assigning its full fleet of 182 snowplows and more than 200 workers per shift to clear the roads.

Motorists are urged to drive defensively and safely, travel only if absolutely necessary, slow down and buckle up. In addition, a new state law prohibits motorists from talking on all but hands-free mobile phones while driving.

Other roadway safety tips to remember:

·        Don’t crowd snowplows – an operator’s field of vision is restricted.

·        Allow extra time for travel during the winter months.

·        Watch out for black ice. Roads may appear clear, but can be treacherous. Slow down when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges and shady areas – all are prone to black ice, which is often invisible.

·        Pull over and dial *999 for emergency roadway assistance.

Check travel and road conditions routinely before any trip. You can get road condition information by calling 1-800-452-IDOT (4368), Illinois Tollway information by calling 1-800-TOLL-FYI or online at gettingaroundillinois.com and click on the “winter road conditions” icon.

The Illinois State Police has assisted hundreds of motorists and reminds motorists to continue to use caution, reduce speeds and allow extra time. Officials are also reminding the motoring public to be mindful of Scott's Law and to yield to emergency and heavy equipment on the interstates and roads. Any minor accidents not requiring emergency care can be reported within 10 days at the nearest police station.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) will continue to monitor the winter weather conditions throughout Illinois and stands ready to activate emergency state resources if necessary. IEMA also advises every household to have a disaster preparedness kit that will help residents stay safe for at least three days. The kits should include a battery-powered NOAA weather radio, a flashlight, extra batteries, non-perishable food, water, a first-aid kit, extra medications and special items needed for babies, disabled or elderly family members and pets.

If you must travel, IEMA and IDOT recommend you equip your vehicle with an emergency supply kit to keep you safe in case you are stranded along the road. A vehicle preparedness kit should include a cell phone and charger, flashlight, extra batteries, first-aid kit, snack foods and water, blankets, extra warm clothing, gloves and hats, sand or kitty litter, shovel, windshield scraper, booster cables, flares or reflectors, windshield washer fluid and a tool kit. Always keep your gas tank at least two-thirds full to help prevent the vehicle’s fuel line from freezing.

Before you depart, check weather and road conditions along your route and provide your planned route to a family member or friend. If conditions are dangerous, postpone travel until road conditions improve. IEMA and the National Weather Service have developed a Winter Weather Preparedness Guide that contains additional tips about winter weather safety. The guide is available at the Ready Illinois website at Ready.Illinois.Gov.

As the weather turns colder this evening, residents can take advantage of the state’s warming centers. These include Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) offices throughout the state, which are open Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Illinois Tollway Oases, which are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To find a warming center near you, call the IDHS hotline at (800) 843-6154 or visit KeepWarm.Illinois.gov.

The Illinois Department on Aging is encouraging relatives and friends to make daily visits or calls to senior citizens living alone. Older people are more susceptible to the cold, so seniors should set their thermostats above 65 degrees. Those particularly vulnerable are older people who take certain medications, drink alcohol, lack proper nutrition, or who have conditions such as arthritis, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson's disease.

Tips to staying safe and warm in winter conditions:

·        Dress in layers, both indoors and outdoors.

·        Keep active. Make a list of exercises and activities to do indoors when you can’t get out.

·        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.

·        Do not shovel snow or walk in deep snow. Plan now for someone else to shovel the snow. The strain from the cold and hard labor could cause a heart attack; sweating can lead to a chill and even hypothermia.

Additionally, shoveling snow is hard work and you should not shovel snow unless you are in good physical condition. Cold weather itself, without any physical exertion, puts an extra strain on your heart. Know your limits when shoveling snow. Rest frequently and pace yourself. If you become breathless, stop, go indoors and warm up before continuing. If you experience chest or arm pain or numbness, stop immediately and go indoors.

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Governor Quinn Urges Safety Ahead of Expected Snowfall PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Grant Klinzman   
Monday, 03 February 2014 09:44

Residents Should Use Extreme Caution and Travel Only if Necessary; Check on Neighbors

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today announced measures being taken by Illinois state agencies to prepare for the additional snowfall that is forecast for the next several days. He also urged residents to follow recommended winter safety procedures, including being careful when shoveling and checking on neighbors during the snowy weather. Today’s announcement is part of Governor Quinn’s commitment to keeping all Illinois residents safe and warm this winter.

“Our public safety workers have been up to the task to keep people safe during this extreme winter weather,” Governor Quinn said. “As we prepare for another round of snow, I urge all motorists to drive with extreme caution and pay careful attention to others on the road.”

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Illinois Tollway have their crews working around the clock to keep roads clear and passable. Motorists are urged to drive defensively and safely, travel only if absolutely necessary, slow down and buckle up. In addition, a new state law prohibits motorists from talking on all but hands-free mobile phones while driving.

Other roadway safety tips to remember:

·         Don’t crowd snowplows – an operator’s field of vision is restricted.

·         Allow extra time for travel during the winter months.

·         Watch out for black ice on roads that appear clear but can be treacherous. Slow down when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges and shady areas – all are prone to black ice, which is often invisible.

·         Pull over and dial *999 for emergency roadway assistance.

Check travel and road conditions routinely before any trip. You can get road condition information by calling 1-800-452-IDOT (4368), Illinois Tollway information by calling 1-800-TOLL-FYI or online at www.gettingaroundillinois.com and click on the “winter road conditions” icon.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) will continue to monitor the winter weather conditions throughout Illinois and stands ready to activate emergency state resources if necessary. IEMA also advises every household to have a disaster preparedness kit that will help residents stay safe for at least three days. The kits should include a battery-powered NOAA weather radio, a flashlight, extra batteries, non-perishable food, water, a first-aid kit, extra medications and special items needed for babies, disabled or elderly family members and pets.

If you must travel, IEMA and IDOT recommend you equip your vehicle with an emergency supply kit to keep you safe in case you are stranded along the road. A vehicle preparedness kit should include a cell phone and charger, flashlight, extra batteries, first-aid kit, snack foods and water, blankets, extra warm clothing, gloves and hats, sand or kitty litter, shovel, windshield scraper, booster cables, flares or reflectors, windshield washer fluid and a tool kit. Always keep your gas tank at least two-thirds full to help prevent the vehicle’s fuel line from freezing.

Before you depart, check weather and road conditions along your route and provide your planned route to a family member or friend. If conditions are dangerous, postpone travel until road conditions improve. IEMA and the National Weather Service have developed a Winter Weather Preparedness Guide that contains many more tips about winter weather safety. The guide is available at the Ready Illinois website at Ready.Illinois.Gov.

Residents are urged to take advantage of the state’s warming centers. These include the Illinois Tollway Oases, which are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. On weekdays, Illinois Department of Human Services offices throughout the state are open 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 KeepWarm.Illinois.gov.

The Illinois Department on Aging is encouraging relatives and friends to make daily visits or calls to senior citizens living alone. Older people are more susceptible to the cold, so seniors should set their thermostats above 65 degrees. Those particularly vulnerable are older people who take certain medications, drink alcohol, lack proper nutrition, or who have conditions such as arthritis, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson's disease.

Tips to staying safe and warm in winter conditions:

·         Dress in layers, both indoors and outdoors.

·         Keep active. Make a list of exercises and activities to do indoors when you can’t get out.

·         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.

·         Do not shovel snow or walk in deep snow. Plan now for someone else to shovel the snow. The strain from the cold and hard labor could cause a heart attack; sweating can lead to a chill and even hypothermia.

Additionally, shoveling snow is hard work and you should not shovel snow unless you are in good physical condition. Cold weather itself, without any physical exertion, puts an extra strain on your heart. Know your limits when shoveling snow. Rest frequently and pace yourself. If you become breathless, stop, go indoors and warm up before continuing. If you experience chest or arm pain or numbness, stop immediately and go indoors.

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Governor Quinn Announces Emergency Actions to Alleviate Heating Gas and Oil Emergency in Illinois PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Grant Klinzman   
Wednesday, 29 January 2014 14:48

Steps Make it Easier and Faster to Transport Heating Fuels from Other States to Address Shortages in Illinois

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today announced emergency actions to alleviate the short supply and high prices of liquefied propane gas and heating oil in Illinois. The actions make it quicker and easier to transport these fuels from other states into Illinois. Today’s announcement is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to ensure the safety of people in every community across Illinois.

“When cold temperatures force energy supplies to go down and prices to go up, it leaves consumers in a bind,” Governor Quinn said. “These actions will quickly bring more propane and heating oil into Illinois to help make sure families can safely and affordably heat their homes during this historic cold stretch.”

Governor Quinn has issued a disaster proclamation to allow Illinois licensed truckers to travel through other states to obtain these fuels and deliver them to Illinois without applying for additional licenses. The declaration also allows drivers to remain behind the wheel longer in order to retrieve heating fuel from other states and bring it back to Illinois. These actions increase the number of drivers available to bring propane into Illinois from other states.

In addition, the tax for out-of-state trucks that use Illinois roads is being temporarily suspended by the Illinois Department of Revenue for trucks that are delivering heating fuels to Illinois. The U.S. Department of Transportation has also issued an emergency declaration that also provides for federal regulatory relief for motor vehicles delivering LP gas and heating fuels to affected areas.

A higher than usual nationwide demand for the fuels is being caused by a much colder than normal winter that is gripping large parts of the nation, including areas that don’t normally experience extreme cold. This is compounded by a wet harvest season that required an unusually heavy use of propane gas to dry grain.

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Governor Quinn Announces State Preparedness Measures Ahead of Winter Blast PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Brooke Anderson   
Monday, 27 January 2014 10:26

Governor Urges Residents to Stay Inside, Safe and Warm Ahead of Expected Dangerous Cold; If Travel is Necessary, Drive with Extreme Caution

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today announced measures being taken by Illinois state agencies to prepare for the extreme cold and additional snowfall that is forecast for the next several days. He also urged residents to follow recommended winter safety procedures and to check on their neighbors during the bitter cold and snowy weather. Today’s announcement is part of Governor Quinn’s commitment to keeping all Illinois residents safe and warm this winter. 

“As we head into another bout of extreme winter weather, our public safety workers are working around the clock to keep people safe while keeping roads open for those who must travel," Governor Quinn said.‪ "I urge all residents to stay warm and check on your friends and relatives who may need assistance during the dangerous cold. And please keep your pets indoors during this winter blast."

The Governor also urged all residents to stay inside as much as possible and limit their exposure to the cold temperatures.

"If you must go outside, please remember to dress in layers. If necessary, residents should take advantage of our warming centers open around the state," the Governor added. 

Residents are urged to take advantage of the state’s more than 100 warming centers as temperatures dip to dangerous lows. These include Illinois Department of Human Services offices throughout the state, which are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., or the Illinois Tollway Oases, which are open 24 hours a day. To find a warming center near you, call the IDHS hotline at (800) 843-6154 or visitKeepWarm.Illinois.gov.

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Illinois Tollway have their crews working around the clock to keep roads clear and passable. Motorists are urged to drive defensively and safely, travel only if absolutely necessary, slow down and buckle up. In addition, a new state law prohibits motorists from talking on all but hands-free mobile phones while driving.

Other roadway safety tips to remember:

  • ·         Don’t crowd snowplows – an operator’s field of vision is restricted.
  • ·         Allow extra time for travel during the winter months.
  • ·         Watch out for black ice on roads that appear clear but can be treacherous. Slow down when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges and shady areas – all are prone to black ice, which is often invisible.
  • ·         Pull over and dial *999 for emergency roadway assistance.

Check travel and road conditions routinely before any trip. You can get road condition information by calling 1-800-452-IDOT (4368), Illinois Tollway information by calling 1-800-TOLL-FYI or online at www.gettingaroundillinois.com and click on the “winter road conditions” icon.

The Illinois Tollway expects to double the number of Zero Weather Road Patrols it provides around the clock to assist drivers stranded in their cars along the 286-mile Tollway system. The Zero Weather Road Patrols provide roadway assistance when temperatures and/or sustained wind chills are below zero.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) will continue to monitor the winter weather conditions throughout Illinois and stands ready to activate emergency state resources if necessary. IEMA also advises every household to have a disaster preparedness kit that will help residents stay safe for at least three days. The kits should include a battery-powered NOAA weather radio, a flashlight, extra batteries, non-perishable food, water, a first-aid kit, extra medications and special items needed for babies, disabled or elderly family members and pets.

If you must travel, IEMA and IDOT recommend you equip your vehicle with an emergency supply kit to keep you safe in case you are stranded along the road. A vehicle preparedness kit should include a cell phone and charger, flashlight, extra batteries, first-aid kit, snack foods and water, blankets, extra warm clothing, gloves and hats, sand or kitty litter, shovel, windshield scraper, booster cables, flares or reflectors, windshield washer fluid and a tool kit. Always keep your gas tank at least two-thirds full to help prevent the vehicle’s fuel line from freezing.

Before you depart, check weather and road conditions along your route and provide your planned route to a family member or friend. If conditions are dangerous, postpone travel until road conditions improve. IEMA and the National Weather Service have developed a Winter Weather Preparedness Guide that contains many more tips about winter weather safety. The guide is available at the Ready Illinois website atReady.Illinois.gov.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) advises residents to be vigilant regarding two health conditions caused by cold winter weather that can lead to serious injury or death – hypothermia and frostbite. Infants and the elderly are particularly at risk for these conditions.

Symptoms for hypothermia, a drop in body temperature to 95 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, include forgetfulness; drowsiness; slurred speech; change in appearance, such as a puffy face; weak pulse, slow heartbeat; very slow, shallow breathing; and in extreme cases, coma or a death-like appearance. If you notice these symptoms, wrap the person in a warm blanket and seek immediate medical attention. Do not give a hypothermia victim a hot shower or bath.

Frostbite typically affects exposed areas of the face, ears, wrists, hands and feet. Frostbitten skin is whitish and stiff, and the area will feel numb rather than painful. If you notice these signs, warm the affected part of the body gradually with blankets, other warm wrappings or warm parts of your body like your armpits, and seek medical attention immediately. Do not rub frostbitten areas. To reduce the chance of frostbite, stay dry and wear several layers of lightweight clothing; cover your head; wear mittens rather than fingered gloves; wear warm leg coverings and heavy socks or two pairs of lightweight socks; and cover your ears and lower face.

The Illinois Department on Aging is encouraging relatives and friends to make daily visits or calls to senior citizens living alone. Older people are more susceptible to the cold, so seniors should set their thermostats above 65 degrees. Those particularly vulnerable are older people who take certain medications, drink alcohol, lack proper nutrition, or who have conditions such as arthritis, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson's disease.

Tips for senior citizens to best handle cold temperatures:

  • ·         Dress in layers, both indoors and outdoors.
  • ·         Keep active. Make a list of exercises and activities to do indoors when you can’t get out.
  • ·         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.
  • ·         Do not shovel snow or walk in deep snow. Plan now for someone else to shovel the snow. The strain from the cold and hard labor could cause a heart attack; sweating can lead to a chill and even hypothermia.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture advises residents to bring their pets indoors or ensure they have a warm shelter area with unfrozen food and water. Check frequently on any animal that remains outside.

Extreme cold temperatures are dangerous and can be deadly. Since 1995, more than 130 fatalities related to cold temperatures have occurred in Illinois, making it the second-leading cause of weather-related deaths in Illinois in the past two decades.

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Governor Quinn Announces Emergency Rules to Protect Illinois Residents from Petcoke PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Grant Klinzman   
Tuesday, 14 January 2014 10:11

Rules Will Require Total Enclosure of Petcoke Piles and Other Environmental Protections

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today announced emergency administrative rules designed to protect Illinois residents from petroleum coke (petcoke). Under the Governor’s order, the rules will be filed later this week as part of his agenda to protect Illinois’ natural resources and ensure a clean and healthy environment for future generations.

“No one should have to eat, sleep or work with harmful dust blowing into their community,” Governor Quinn said. “No matter who you are or where you live, everyone has a right to a healthy environment. These rules will make sure that no one in Illinois has to worry about petroleum coke.”

Through its authority under the Illinois Environmental Protection Act, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) will submit administrative rules to the Illinois Pollution Control Board (IPCB) that would set statewide standards for any facility that manages or stores petcoke or related materials. Chief among these will be a requirement for total enclosure of petcoke during its transport, processing and storage.

The IEPA has been working with federal, state and local officials since being approached by community residents with concerns about petcoke dust blowing into their homes causing discomfort and potentially serious health issues. The IEPA has referred numerous allegations of state environmental regulation violations to Attorney General Lisa Madigan. The Attorney General, in cooperation with the city of Chicago, has filed lawsuits against two petcoke companies. The IEPA has halted permit activity for petcoke operations pending a review of their impacts on air, land and water.

“At Governor Quinn’s direction, we will continue to do everything necessary to ensure that Illinois does not become a dumping ground for petroleum coke,” IEPA Director Lisa Bonnett said. “After seeing the piles firsthand and how they are affecting this community, it’s clear that strong action is necessary. We are committed to continuing the cooperative efforts at the federal, state and local level to address this issue.”

The rules will take effect on an emergency basis upon filing with the Secretary of State later this week. This action triggers a series of actions to be taken by the IPCB, which include a required three-step notice process that incorporates public testimony and hearings as well as legal and economic impacts before official and permanent adoption. Major timelines and provisions that would be effective upon official adoption include:

·         Within five days, a facility must install equipment to monitor wind speed.

·         Within 30 days, a facility must install dust suppression systems along conveyor systems and any piles that are not totally enclosed.

·         Within 30 days, a facility must submit applications for necessary permits and a comprehensive wastewater and stormwater runoff plan to IEPA that ensures that runoff that has come into contact with the piles is prevented from entering the waters of the state and complete it within 60 days of approval.

·         Within 45 days, a facility must submit a plan to IEPA for total enclosure of all coke and coal piles, transfer points, loading and unloading areas, screening areas, crushing and sizing areas to be completed within two years of these rules being adopted. Enclosure structures must be equipped with air pollution systems at all vents and entrances and exits for material and vehicles as well as an impermeable base to guard against ground seepage.

·         Within 45 days, a facility must submit a plan to IEPA to minimize the impact of truck traffic on residential areas near the source. All petcoke loading and transport must be done in vehicles sufficiently covered to guard against fugitive dust emissions.

·         With 45 days, a facility must submit a plan to IEPA for coke and coal fugitive dust that must adhere to requirements in the Illinois Environmental Protection Act and must be updated at least semi-annually or within 30 days of a major equipment or control change.

·         Within 60 days, a facility must remove all petcoke and coal that has been at the source for more than one year.

·         Within 60 days, a facility must locate any piles, loading operations, transfer or emission points that are not totally enclosed to at least 200 feet inside the property line of the source, a minimum of 200 feet from all waters of the United States, all public water supply reservoirs and intakes and all potable wells and onto impenetrable bases or pads.

·         Within 60 days, no pile may exceed 30 feet in height. Visible height markers must also be installed.

·         A least once per calendar week, a facility must measure moisture content of representative samples and adjust dust suppression measures so as to meet certain standards and inspect all dust suppression equipment so as to ensure adequate operations.

·         At least monthly, a facility must certify the operation of all dust suppression systems at all times during the processing of coal and coke and submit records to IEPA showing the types and quantities of materials delivered to and transported from the source, and data reflecting cleaning, street-sweeping and equipment maintenance frequency.

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