November 04, 2006

Thinking of Going Green on Tuesday? Think Again

As you know, we will have three choices for Governor when we go into the voting booth on Tuesday. We all know, however, that when all is said and done Tuesday night, either Rod Blagojevich or Judy Barr Topinka will have been elected Governor of Illinois for the next four years.

I agree with much of the platform of the Illinois Green Party, and as a fellow environmentalist, I’m sure you do too. I also believe that our best hope for enacting these policies and programs is to vote for Rod Blagojevich on Tuesday.

As environmentalists, we have to ask ourselves, who would we rather have leading our state, as we face continuing assaults on our environmental laws in Washington, and as we face major decisions of our own about energy policy, clean air, clean water, and natural areas protection?

Rod Blagojevich is the first Illinois Governor ever to stand up to the owners of Illinois’ coal plants, some of the heaviest hitters in Illinois politics, and force them to clean up their act. Cleaning up old, dirty coal plants has been at the top of the agenda for the Illinois environmental community for decades, but Blagojevich was the first Governor to act on these concerns. On November 2nd, the Illinois Pollution Control Board approved his proposal to cut 90% of coal plant mercury by 2009 – much deeper and faster cuts than proposed by President Bush. Blagojevich stood up to another powerful lobby, hospital owners, and ordered them to shut down the 11 hospital waste incinerators in the state spewing dioxin, mercury, and other toxins into our air. Eight of them are now closed, and the remaining three are expected to close soon.

Blagojevich is the first Illinois Governor to aggressively promote wind power. His energy plan calls for 10% of our electricity to come from wind by 2015. He has committed to powering the state’s buildings in Springfield entirely by wind energy. His energy plan also includes $100 million to promote “cellulosic” ethanol development, and new programs to conserve energy.

Our rivers and streams are cleaner today than four years ago, thanks to Blagojevich’s requirement that all new wastewater plants include phosphorus controls. Clean water advocates have sought action on nutrient pollution for many years from Illinois EPA, but Blagojevich was the first Governor to act on the clear evidence that nutrient overload is choking many of our state’s waters. Blagojevich continues efforts to reform the Facility Planning Area process to protect high quality streams from poorly planned development. He is moving to address Illinois’ longstanding lack of any program to regulate water withdrawals, to make sure we have enough clean water for drinking and for wildlife.

If it were not for Rod Blagojevich’s vetoes of bills to let dirtbikes and four-wheelers into our state parks, they undoubtedly would be roaring through some of our parks today. When the Bush Administration proposed logging and selling off parts of our Shawnee National Forest, Blagojevich objected, and those threats never materialized. Blagojevich supported efforts to pass the Illinois Wetland Protection Act, and is committed to working to fill the wetland protection gap left by recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions.

Finally, Blagojevich is the first Illinois Governor, and first Midwest Governor, to commit to serious action to confront global warming. He has signed a binding commitment to reduce state government’s emissions of greenhouse gases by 6% by 2010, and launched an effort to develop a greenhouse gas regulatory program for the state. The cap and trade program recently adopted by California is being studied closely as a possible model for Illinois.

To be sure, environmentalists have had their differences with the Blagojevich administration. We have opposed new pulverized coal plants that the administration has supported, and we will continue to do so. Blagojevich is not the first Illinois Governor to champion the Illinois coal industry, and he will not be the last. We are encouraged that the Governor’s energy plan does not include any plans for further pulverized coal plants, but instead focuses coal development resources on promoting gasified coal plants, which are far cleaner than pulverized plants, and at least have the potential to capture their carbon emissions. The Green Party platform promotes the same policies.

There is no question that the state’s budget problems have had an impact on the Illinois Department of Natural Resources ability to carry out its mission. It is important to note, however, that these problems began with significant losses during the Ryan administration due to early retirement, and while they did worsen during the beginning of the Blagojevich administration, they have also begun to improve, thanks to increasing appropriations and staffing levels in recent budgets. We are confident that this trend will continue, and that the IDNR will continue to build strength as the state’s fiscal health improves.

Blagojevich is the only Illinois Governor ever endorsed by the Sierra Club. I certainly agree with the majority of the Green Party platform, but it is also clear that of the three candidates in this race, none has come close the record of environmental achievement of Governor Blagojevich.

Historically in Illinois, state government’s goal in protecting the environment has too often been to do the minimum to comply with the law. While bureaucratic cultures do not change overnight, more and more Illinois is asking “What’s the best we can do?” instead of “What’s the least we can do?” This is the beginning of a remarkable change for Illinois, particularly set against the backdrop of what is happening to the environmental protection framework of our federal government.

As Illinois environmentalists, and as citizens of the planet, we need that trend to continue. We need to reward innovation and initiative when it comes to the major energy and environmental policy questions of our time. We cannot afford to revert to an era where we did the minimum Washington asked of us, especially now.

Rod Blagojevich’s environmental accomplishments have earned him the support of this green voter. I urge you to consider the record, be proud of the fact that your state is becoming a national leader on the environment, and reward this initiative with your vote on Tuesday.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

You're such a sellout Darin.

Anonymous said...

Those appointments to various taskforces by Blagojevich clouding your judgement a little Darin? Hey Jack, we understand that you have a political career to maintain!

Anonymous said...

Four reasons to vote for Rich Whitney, the Green Party candidate:

1. Governor Blagojevich decimated the Department of Natural Resources and appointed political operatives to run this important state agency. Dedicated professionals have been driven out. Employee morale is at an all-time low. DNR desperately needs a director with natural resource expertise who will restore its integrity.

2. His environmental protection department has issued defective air permits for the construction of new coal-burning power plants in Illinois, which will dump millions of pounds of global warming and other contaminants into the air. The Governor wants to make coal king again.

3. The Governor's renewable energy plan calls for power companies to only voluntarily purchase green power like wind and solar. Other states require utilities to make binding commitments to purchase green power. We need a law, not promises that can be broken.

4. He is providing huge subsidies for corn-based ethanol plants, which will use large quantities of water, and cause odor and emission problems for their neighbors. We should be finding ways to make agriculture more sustainable, not turning food crops into fuel.

Stick with your grassroots, progressive heritage Sierra Club members and vote for the Green Party candidate who truly believes in a more sustainable future for our state.

Anonymous said...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – November 4, 2006

BLAGO APPOINTEE DARIN REPRESENTS SERIOUS CONFLICT OF INTEREST

CONTACT:
Dave Sacks, Office Manager
Whitney for Governor, 773-557-9411
office@whitneyforgov.org

Rich Whitney, the Green Party candidate for Illinois Governor, and Julie Samuels, the Green Party candidate for Lt. Governor, today responded to an open letter, written by Illinois Sierra Club Director Jack Darin, in which Darin praises and urges voters to support the same candidate that recently appointed Darin to serve on two taskforces, both designed to "assist in implementation" of that candidate's very own energy plan.

The Governor's office issued a press release on September 8, 2006, indicating that Darin had been appointed by the Governor for membership in the "Coal Gasification & Carbon Sequestration Working Group" and the "Clean Car and Energy Efficiency Working Group" along with representatives of organizations including the Office of Coal Development, ConocoPhillips, Eastman Chemical, Ford Motor Company, Z Frank Chevrolet, and various others.

The Illinois Environmental Council has given the Governor one B and three D's on it's Environmental Report Card, including F's in several subcategories. Despite his lavish praise in the letter, Darin acknowledges that "environmentalists have had their differences with the Blagojevich administration" but, nonetheless, goes on to tout the Governor's so-called "record of environmental achievement." The Sierra Club is an organizational member of the Illinois Environmental Council; however, regardless, according to Darin himself, "Blagojevich is the only Illinois Governor ever endorsed by the Sierra Club."

"This represent a terrible conflict of interest because, in a situation like this, you are beholden to promote the interests the of person who appoints you, rather than those of the organization for whom you are working," said Samuels, who also served as Vice President of the Illinois Environmental Council for two terms. "Why is Jack Darin supporting the status quo instead of Green Party candidates that would not hesitate to advance the agenda of the Sierra Club," asked Samuels.

"Jack Darin's free advertising for the Blagojevich campaign is unworthy of the good intentions of the vast majority the Sierra Club's actual members. If environmental, labor, and other organizations simply vote their convictions, instead of kowtowing to the power of big money, we can start making the kinds of changes that these organizations want," said Whitney. "I have to wonder if Jack Darin bothered to take a survery of his own membership before taking it upon himself to issue such a blatently partisan statement," added Whitney.

"Jack Darin has violated the trust of his membership and his partners on the Illinois Environmental Council," concluded Samuels.

MORE INFORMATION:
www.whitneyforgov.org

###

Anonymous said...

I know it was you, Jack, and it breaks my heart.

Anonymous said...

This is a dumb move by a campaign that doesn't have a chance of doing anything but possibly helping someone with close ties to the Bush administation do what Nader did to Gore.

And -- since when would taxpayers or enviros, for that matter, not want unpaid experts (that care about the environment) helping to shape public policy.

Anonymous said...

I have no problem if the Governor selects Jack Darin to be on citizen advisory panels that help recommend public policy.

As to the supposed differences between Blagojevich and Topinka, have you noticed that Republican power brokers like Stuart Levine, Bob Kjellander and William Cellini have thrived under the Blagojevich administration.

Rather than carry out promised campaign reforms, the Governor has perpetuated "combine politics" in Illinois.

It's time for a change. Vote for Rich Whitney.

Anonymous said...

2000? Worst case scenario the Republicans would have had to steal a few more votes--big deal, it's not like the Democrats did anything to fight it (not even a SINGLE Democratic Senator would stand up to support the Congressional Black Caucus when they were BEGGING for one to support their objection.)

Hundreds of thousands more Democrats in Florida voted for Bush than voted for Nader. If even a few of these had stuck with their own party, Gore could have had those votes; but no, Gore was a terrible candidate, and he couldn't even win his own home state of Tennessee.

Al From, Chair of the Democratic Leadership Council, himself wrote in Blueprint magazine that, according to their OWN Democratic exit polls, Bush would have beat Gore by one percentage point had Nader not run. Why? Nader energized many NEW voters, would not have otherwise voted; and who CERTAINLY would not have voted for Gore.

You Democrats should quit your whining and do something to fix the so-called "spoiler" problem if you're so worried about it. Get off your butts and implement Instant Runoff Voting. You haven't done anything about this since 2000; so please, spare us the sob story.

Also, can we quit with the Blagojevich footsoldiers being sent out to this blog to defend Darin's "good name?" When you are so obvious about it, it only makes it more obvious that Darin is in Blago's back pocket.

Greenonymous said...

Hey Jack,

I just got my Ameren powerbill. It's got these really cool charts with where my power's coming from.

Wind - 0%
Solar - 0%
Biomass - 0%

Wow, Blagojevich's non-mandatory RPS has really shook things up!

Anonymous said...

Don't worry about these wackos, Jack. When either Judy or Blagojevich beat the pants off this little socialist they will still be on the outside looking in.

Anonymous said...

The Sierra Club's volunteer political committees, from its chapters and the state's political committee, make the Club's endorsement.

What a nasty group this Whitney crowd is. It's never smart to attack a popular leader -- let alone one from organization you hope to court.

Those of us who have had the pleasure of working with Jack Darin know him to be a man of integrity and someone that serves the Sierra Club's interest's well. I look forward to his continued leadership as well as the continued work of Governor Rod Blagojevich. I am glad that this Governor calls upon environmental leaders to help shape public policy.

Anonymous said...

LOL Jack Darin is hardly a popular leader. In fact, Julie Samuels, the Green Party's Lt. Governor candidate HAS WORKED WITH DARIN EXTENSIVELY. She served as vice-president of the Illinois Environmental Council for two terms and says that Darin was always a problem. I trust her on that.

Anonymous said...

The Sierra Club endorsement ought to be worth something pretty significant. Unfortunately, Governor Blagojevich has a mixed record on the environment. Many environmentalists are shocked over the subsidies he has provided to new coal burning plants and coal mines. He has not provided the same level of support to renewable energy resources. Now he has appointed yet another commission to look at global warming. We need action, not more studies. I wish Sierra Club had set the bar higher.

Anonymous said...

I have also served the IEC for many years and have worked extensively with Jack. I do not need you to tell me what an obviously bitter Lt. Gov candidate has to say about him.

Stick to the issues. Stop the petty charater assasinations --unless you want to turn off even more people off.

I, personally, know Jack to be very popular. He is also well respected among members of the General Assembly on both sides of the aisle and works well with a multitude of personalities.

I had no opinion of this Samuels until now. Thanks for turning me off completely.

All in all, our votes matter and it is obvious that the third party candidate has no chance. I will not throw my vote away to help someone who will owe the Bush Administration (Topinka). Rod is clearly best choice for enviros.

Anonymous said...

"He is also well respected among members of the General Assembly on both sides of the aisle and works well with a multitude of personalities."

Let me translate: Jack Darin has a political career to protect, so ethics go right out the window. Poof!

You want facts? Why has the Sierra club been discriminating aganist Green candidates who are most closely aligned with the Sierra Club's positions? Why did the Sierra Club refuse to send a candidate questionaire to Dorian Breuer up in the 1st Senate District? Why has the Sierra Club made it clear that it will NOT endorse ANY Green candidate, no matter how good they may be?

Why? I will tell you why--Jack Darin, his relationship with Blagojevich, and the political career that he is protecting.

Anonymous said...

I am sure that I will be accused of being a partisan but for those of us who truly care about issues. Lets get past the name calling determine how to best vote. I felt that Donna Livingston's letter was helpful for those of us that do not drive cars with bumper stickers.

Blagojevich is a National Leader

For the first time in decades, Illinois has a Governor who is a national leader on environmental issues. Unfortunately, I haven't seen much election coverage about the environment. Because the federal government so often ignores environmental protection (e.g., global warming) or undermines it (e.g., new loopholes for companies to pollute the air), we need Governors at the state level who are willing to provide the leadership that is missing in Washington DC.

For example, I worry about air pollution. Thankfully, Governor Rod Blagojevich's plans to cut power plant emissions are among the strongest in nation and far more protective of public health than federal requirements. He's pledged to power state buildings in Springfield with zero-pollution wind power starting in 2007. This would be the largest wind power purchase by any state in the U.S. He also persuaded Illinois hospitals to shut down incinerators that spew toxins into the air.

Blagojevich is a national leader on addressing climate change. Illinois has the only state program that provides incentives for farmers to use conservation practices that take greenhouse gases out of the air. Illinois is only the second state to join the Chicago Climate Exchange, which means the state will lead by example by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from government operations. And the Governor recently announced the formation of an Advisory Group to help develop a comprehensive plan to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Illinois.

National leadership on environmental issues is not something we have seen from Illinois Republican governors, who too often favored polluters and other special interests at the expense of the environment and public heath. Based on her track record and affiliations, I would expect more of the same from Judy Barr Topinka.. Would she have signed legislation to ban the sale of products that contain mercury or legislation to provide new authority to close and cleanup illegal dumps and landfills? Would Ms. Topinka have created tougher limits on discharges from wastewater treatment plants?

I doubt it. If you want a Governor you can count on to protect the environment and public heath now and for future generations, vote for Governor Blagojevich.

Anonymous said...

Is the Governor a national leader on global climate change? Not in my opinion. It's California and certain Northeastern states that are taking the lead in requiring power companies to cut their carbon emissions. Has the Governor pledged to do the same?

These states have also passed laws, requiring electricity suppliers to provide their customers with a certain percentage of renewable energy. Why isn’t the Governor pushing for such a law in Illinois?

These are the kinds of programs I would expect from a candidate endorsed by the Sierra Club. Why are you settling for less?

Anonymous said...

My take on the Sierra Club’s endorsement is that it reflects the evolution of the group.

Illinois Sierra Club used to be a grassroots organization that relied on volunteers to do most of the work, with the primary focus on local issues. Over the years, the group has centralized its operations, aligned itself with more professionally-staff organizations and made statewide campaigns a high priority. This has resulted in more interaction with legislators and bureaucrats, including political endorsements and support.

The Governor did a good thing in going after old polluting power plants, and his administration expects Sierra Club’s leaders to repay the debt with an endorsement. That’s understandable.

If you believe in incremental change and working within the existing power structure, you should probably vote for the Governor. However, if you are looking for more systemic changes in Illinois government, you may want to cast your vote for Rich Whitney and provide an opportunity for a new political party to get a start in the state.

Anonymous said...

State submits Request for Information for construction and operation of Carbon Dioxide pipeline

Pipeline would allow for safe containment and transportation of greenhouse gases released by coal gasification plants



SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced that today the state will issue a Request for Information (RFI) regarding the construction and operation of a Carbon Dioxide (CO2) pipeline stretching from the coal gasification plants planned for central and southern Illinois to Illinois Basin oilfields in southeastern Illinois. The RFI, submitted to companies with expertise in pipeline development, is to determine the best construction and operation practices, the appropriate siting, as well as the interest level within the industry to work with the state to develop a CO2 pipeline system in Illinois. The CO2 pipeline is an integral part of the Governor’s Energy Independence Plan released earlier this year.

The Governor’s energy plan calls for the investment of $775 million to help build ten new coal gasification plants over the next ten years, which would convert Illinois’ coal from a solid to a gas that can be processed into a substitute for natural gas, diesel fuel, or electricity. The plants would use Illinois coal to meet 25 percent of the state’s diesel fuel needs, 25 percent of natural gas needs, and 10 percent of electricity needs. Coal gasification is the cleanest and most efficient way to convert coal to energy, with low emissions of mercury and other air pollutants, and allows carbon dioxide to be captured for permanent underground storage.

“Our energy plan will reduce Illinois’ dependence on foreign oil – allowing us to use Illinois’ own natural resources to meet 50 percent of our fuel needs by 2017,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “Constructing a carbon dioxide pipeline is a big part of our plan because it will allow us to build coal gasification plants and use the CO2 they emit to extract more oil without contributing to global warming.”

As part of his energy plan, the Governor has proposed building a pipeline from gasification facilities in Illinois to Illinois Basin oilfields in southeastern Illinois. Illinois’ oil fields hold about one billion untapped barrels of oil resources. Because these oil fields are mature, production cannot increase without using advanced recovery techniques. “Enhanced Oil Recovery,” which uses carbon dioxide to extract more oil from existing reserves, could nearly double the amount of petroleum produced by Illinois annually. The 140-mile pipeline would transport the carbon dioxide captured by the coal gasification plants to oilfields and use the pressurized carbon dioxide to extract more oil.

Additionally, the carbon dioxide transported by the pipeline could be used to extract methane from Illinois coal reserves. Illinois coal reserves hold enough methane, a fuel similar to natural gas, to meet all of the state’s natural gas needs for seven years. The royalties from the recovered oil and gas would subsidize the infrastructure costs of transporting and permanently storing the carbon dioxide underground.

In an effort to recover residual oil and natural gas from Illinois’ vast oil and coal bed methane reserves, the State is seeking expressions of interest from the private sector to build and/or operate a pipeline “backbone” that will link new coal gasification and biofuels production facilities with mature oil fields amenable to Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) and with potential enhanced coal bed methane resources in Illinois.

The ultimate goal is to ensure that the infrastructure needed to transport sufficient quantities of carbon dioxide to Illinois Basin oil fields and other geological formations is sufficient to extract available oil reserves and permanently store carbon dioxide captured from coal gasification facilities and biofuels plants.

In the event that carbon dioxide becomes a regulated commodity, a CO2 pipeline would assist generators of CO2 to generate revenue from carbon credits they may accrue by transporting CO2 from coal gasification and biofuel plants to sites suitable for permanent storage in deep saline reservoirs, such as in the Mt. Simon Sandstone reservoir.

Background of Illinois’ EOR and Carbon Sequestration Potential:

Recent studies show that Illinois Basin has an original-oil-in-place volume of 14.1 billion.


The volume of oil amenable to CO2 Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) in the Illinois Basin is assessed at approximately 860 million to 1.3 billion barrels, and the majority of that resource is concentrated in a limited number of large fields in South Central and Southeastern Illinois. For example, approximately 340 million barrels of EOR resources resides in three large fields and six nearby smaller fields in Southeastern Illinois.


The State is conducting significant geological carbon sequestration research supported by the U.S. Department of Energy that includes new field testing of EOR in Illinois’ mature oil fields; the first CO2 is expected to be injected into a mature field in December.


Potential sources of large quantities of CO2 are now being developed in Illinois. Several well-financed coal gasification projects and ethanol plants are now under development in Illinois that would yield gas streams with high CO2 concentrations suitable not only for EOR but possibly Enhanced Coalbed Methane (ECBM) where the adsorption of CO2 on deep coal seems may boost methane production to enhance regional supplies of natural gas.


The Illinois Basin’s primary coalbed methane and ECBM resource is assessed at 6.7 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), the majority of which is located in southeastern Illinois coincident with coals that overlie major oil fields in the deeper parts of the Illinois Basin.


Building a CO2 pipeline to permanently trap and store carbon dioxide supports the Governor’s recently announced Climate Change Initiative, which includes an Executive Order that created the Illinois Climate Change Advisory Group. The Group will consider the full range of policies and strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Illinois and make recommendations to the Governor. The Advisory Group will have broad representation that will include business leaders, labor unions, the energy and agricultural industries, scientists, economists, and environmental groups from throughout the state. The Governor named Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Director Doug Scott as Chair of the Advisory Group.

The Governor also announced that Illinois would join New Mexico to become only the second state in the nation to join the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX). As a CCX member, the state makes a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity and fuel needed to operate state facilities and motor vehicles; the reduction target only applies to state government operations.

fooftsoldier said...

From the Tribune
State moves against mercury
Cuts on power plant pollution advance

By Michael Hawthorne
Tribune staff reporter
Published November 3, 2006
Taking a swipe at the Bush administration's environmental policy, Illinois moved closer Thursday to requiring deep cuts in mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants.

The limits endorsed by a state rule-making panel would make Illinois one of two dozen states that have rejected a slower, more lenient approach adopted by the federal government.
What makes the Illinois regulations stand out is that Illinois is a major coal producer and user.

Half of its electricity comes from aging power plants that burn coal. Those smokestacks are major sources of mercury, a toxic metal that can damage the developing brain and nervous system of a fetus or young child.

"Mercury shouldn't be contaminating our lakes and rivers," said Steve Frenkel, director of policy development for Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who has made the tougher state rules a key part of his re-election campaign.

"We know it's a potent neurotoxin," Frenkel said. "And now we know we can reduce it effectively and inexpensively."



2 utilities change stance

After initially complaining the state's rules would be too costly and impossible to achieve, two major utilities cut a deal with the Blagojevich administration under which they will get more time to comply with the state's standards.

Those companies, Ameren and Dynegy, pledged to reduce mercury emissions by 90 percent by 2015, instead of by 2009. In return, they agreed to tighter limits on other forms of air pollution that causes smog, soot and acid rain.

A third company, Midwest Generation, continues to fight the requirements and could be forced to comply with Blagojevich's original proposal.

The federal rules, by contrast, call for a 70 percent reduction in mercury emissions by 2018.

The EPA's inspector general reported earlier this year that allowing utilities to trade the right to release mercury could make it more difficult to reduce high levels of the toxic metal in parts of the nation.

Mercury pollution is so pervasive that Illinois and 43 other states advise anglers to limit consumption of freshwater fish, mostly large predator species that can accumulate large amounts of the metal.

About 40 percent of the fish sampled statewide during the past two decades had mercury levels above the federal exposure limit for an average-size woman, according to state records reviewed by the Illinois Public Interest Research Group.

State officials have declined to say if the new rules would enable them to drop the fish advisories. But some researchers have found that reducing pollution from nearby sources leads to lower mercury levels in fish.

Following more than 7,300 public comments and 18 days of hearings, the Illinois Pollution Control Board found the mercury regulations are "economically feasible" and "technically justifiable." Before taking effect, the rules still must pass muster with a panel of state lawmakers.

The last roadblock could be Midwest Generation, owner of coal-fired power plants in Chicago's Little Village and Pilsen neighborhoods as well as Romeoville, Joliet and Waukegan.

Equipment tested during the summer at the Crawford plant in Little Village reduced mercury emissions by more than 80 percent but failed to consistently achieve the 90 percent target, said spokesman Doug McFarlan.

"We agree it's a relatively cost-effective way to get significant reductions," McFarlan said. "But we think it's premature to say we can guarantee a 90 percent reduction."



Companies seek more time

Company executives are trying to negotiate a compromise with state officials that would give them more time and flexibility to reduce mercury and other forms of air pollution, including sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide.

"It's time for Midwest Gen to step up and be a responsible corporate citizen," said Howard Learner, executive director of the Environmental Law and Policy Center. "They should be part of the solution along with the other utilities."

----------

mhawthorne@tribune.com
Copyright © 2006, Chicago Tribune

panther4 said...

Congratulations to the Illinios Sierra Club for the victory of so many endorsed candidates! Looks like we have a gowing enviro caucus in the IL Senate!

Enlightenment said...

We won!!! Now that our side has a majority in both houses they should actually USE the subpoena power in January and launch a REAL independent investigation into 9/11.

One thing that struck me as odd in the days after 9/11 was Bush saying "We will not tolerate conspiracy theories [regarding 9/11]". Sure enough there have been some wacky conspiracy theories surrounding the events of that day. The most far-fetched and patently ridiculous one that I've ever heard goes like this: Nineteen hijackers who claimed to be devout Muslims but yet were so un-Muslim as to be getting drunk all the time, doing cocaine and frequenting strip clubs decided to hijack four airliners and fly them into buildings in the northeastern U.S., the area of the country that is the most thick with fighter bases. After leaving a Koran on a barstool at a strip bar after getting shitfaced drunk on the night before, then writing a suicide note/inspirational letter that sounded like it was written by someone with next to no knowledge of Islam, they went to bed and got up the next morning hung over and carried out their devious plan. Nevermind the fact that of the four "pilots" among them there was not a one that could handle a Cessna or a Piper Cub let alone fly a jumbo jet, and the one assigned the most difficult task of all, Hani Hanjour, was so laughably incompetent that he was the worst fake "pilot" of the bunch, with someone who was there when he was attempting to fly a small airplane saying that Hanjour was so clumsy that he was unsure if he had driven a car before. Nevermind the fact that they received very rudimentary flight training at Pensacola Naval Air Station, making them more likely to have been C.I.A. assets than Islamic fundamentalist terrorists. So on to the airports after Mohammed Atta supposedly leaves two rental cars at two impossibly far-removed locations. So they hijack all four airliners and at this time passengers on United 93 start making a bunch of cell phone calls from 35,000 feet in the air to tell people what was going on. Nevermind the fact that cell phones wouldn't work very well above 4,000 feet, and wouldn't work at ALL above 8,000 feet. But the conspiracy theorists won't let that fact get in the way of a good fantasy. That is one of the little things you "aren't supposed to think about". Nevermind that one of the callers called his mom and said his first and last name ("Hi mom, this is Mark Bingham"), more like he was reading from a list than calling his own mom. Anyway, when these airliners each deviated from their flight plan and didn't respond to ground control, NORAD would any other time have followed standard operating procedure (and did NOT have to be told by F.A.A. that there were hijackings because they were watching the same events unfold on their own radar) which means fighter jets would be scrambled from the nearest base where they were available on standby within a few minutes, just like every other time when airliners stray off course. But of course on 9/11 this didn't happen, not even close. Somehow these "hijackers" must have used magical powers to cause NORAD to stand down, as ridiculous as this sounds because total inaction from the most high-tech and professional Air Force in the world would be necessary to carry out their tasks. So on the most important day in its history the Air Force was totally worthless. Then they had to make one of the airliners look like a smaller plane, because unknown to them the Naudet brothers had a videocamera to capture the only known footage of the North Tower crash, and this footage shows something that is not at all like a jumbo jet, but didn't have to bother with the South Tower jet disguising itself because that was the one we were "supposed to see". Anyway, as for the Pentagon they had to have Hani Hanjour fly his airliner like it was a fighter plane, making a high G-force corkscrew turn that no real airliner can do, in making its descent to strike the Pentagon. But these "hijackers" wanted to make sure Rumsfeld survived so they went out of their way to hit the farthest point in the building from where Rumsfeld and the top brass are located. And this worked out rather well for the military personnel in the Pentagon, since the side that was hit was the part that was under renovation at the time with few military personnel present compared to construction workers. Still more fortuitous for the Pentagon, the side that was hit had just before 9/11 been structurally reinforced to prevent a large fire there from spreading elsewhere in the building. Awful nice of them to pick that part to hit, huh? Then the airliner vaporized itself into nothing but tiny unidentifiable pieces most no bigger than a fist, unlike the crash of a real airliner when you will be able to see at least some identifiable parts, like crumpled wings, broken tail section etc. Why, Hani Hanjour the terrible pilot flew that airliner so good that even though he hit the Pentagon on the ground floor the engines didn't even drag the ground!! Imagine that!! Though the airliner vaporized itself on impact it only made a tiny 16 foot hole in the building. Amazing. Meanwhile, though the planes hitting the Twin Towers caused fires small enough for the firefighters to be heard on their radios saying "We just need 2 hoses and we can knock this fire down" attesting to the small size of it, somehow they must have used magical powers from beyond the grave to make this morph into a raging inferno capable of making the steel on all forty-seven main support columns (not to mention the over 100 smaller support columns) soften and buckle, then all fail at once. Hmmm. Then still more magic was used to make the building totally defy physics as well as common sense in having the uppermost floors pass through the remainder of the building as quickly, meaning as effortlessly, as falling through air, a feat that without magic could only be done with explosives. Then exactly 30 minutes later the North Tower collapses in precisely the same freefall physics-defying manner. Incredible. Not to mention the fact that both collapsed at a uniform rate too, not slowing down, which also defies physics because as the uppermost floors crash into and through each successive floor beneath them they would shed more and more energy each time, thus slowing itself down. Common sense tells you this is not possible without either the hijackers' magical powers or explosives. To emphasize their telekinetic prowess, later in the day they made a third building, WTC # 7, collapse also at freefall rate though no plane or any major debris hit it. Amazing guys these magical hijackers. But we know it had to be "Muslim hijackers" the conspiracy theorist will tell you because (now don't laugh) one of their passports was "found" a couple days later near Ground Zero, miraculously "surviving" the fire that we were told incinerated planes, passengers and black boxes, and also "survived" the collapse of the building it was in. When common sense tells you if that were true then they should start making buildings and airliners out of heavy paper and plastic so as to be "indestructable" like that magic passport. The hijackers even used their magical powers to bring at least seven of their number back to life, to appear at american embassies outraged at being blamed for 9/11!! BBC reported on that and it is still online. Nevertheless, they also used magical powers to make the american government look like it was covering something up in the aftermath of this, what with the hasty removal of the steel debris and having it driven to ports in trucks with GPS locators on them, to be shipped overseas to China and India to be melted down. When common sense again tells you that this is paradoxical in that if the steel was so unimportant that they didn't bother saving some for analysis but so important as to require GPS locators on the trucks with one driver losing his job because he stopped to get lunch. Hmmmm. Further making themselves look guilty, the Bush administration steadfastly refused for over a year to allow a commission to investigate 9/11 to even be formed, only agreeing to it on the conditions that they get to dictate its scope, meaning it was based on the false pretense of the "official story" being true with no other alternatives allowed to be considered, handpicked all its members making sure the ones picked had vested interests in the truth remaining buried, and with Bush and Cheney only "testifying" together, only for an hour, behind closed doors, with their attorneys present and with their "testimonies" not being recorded by tape or even written down in notes. Yes, this whole story smacks of the utmost idiocy and fantastic far-fetched lying, but it is amazingly enough what some people believe. Even now, five years later, the provably false fairy tale of the "nineteen hijackers" is heard repeated again and again, and is accepted without question by so many Americans. Which is itself a testament to the innate psychological cowardice of the American sheeple, i mean people, and their abject willingness to believe something, ANYTHING, no matter how ridiculous in order to avoid facing a scary uncomfortable truth. Time to wake up America.

Debunking Popular Mechanics lies:
http://www.lookingglassnews.org/viewstory.php?storyid=6880
someone else debunking Popular Mechanics crap:
http://www.serendipity.li/wot/pop_mech/reply_to_popular_mechanics.htm
still more debunking Poopular Mechanics:
http://letsroll911.org/ipw-web/bulletin/bb/viewtopic.php?t=5505
and still more debunking of Popular Mechanics:
http://www.reopen911.org/ericreubt.htm

Poopular Mechanics staff replaced just before laughable “debunking” article written:
http://www.reopen911.org/hiddenhand.htm
another neo-con 9/11 hit piece explodes, is retracted:
http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/august2006/180806hitpiece.htm
Professor Steven Jones debunks the N.I.S.T. “report” as well as the F.E.M.A. one and the 9/11 commission "report":
http://www.infowars.com/articles/sept11/wtc_buildings_collapse_steven_jones.htm
N.I.S.T. scientist interviewed:
http://www.teamliberty.net/id235.html
F.B.I. says no hard evidence linking Osama bin Laden to 9/11 which is why his wanted poster says nothing about 9/11:
http://forum.afghansite.com/index.php?showtopic=9349
Fire Engineering magazine says important questions about the Twin Tower “collapses” still need to be addressed:http://fe.pennnet.com/Articles/Article_Display.cfm?Section=OnlineArticles&SubSection=Display&PUBLICATION_ID=25&ARTICLE_ID

Twin Towers’ construction certifiers say they should have easily withstood it:
http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/november2004/121104easilywithstood.htm
USA Today interview with the last man out of the South Tower, pursued by a fireball:
http://www.usatoday.com/news/sept11/2001/12/19/usat-escape.htm
Janitor who heard explosions and escaped has testimony ignored by 9/11 whitewash commission:
http://www.americanfreepress.net/html/ignoring_9-11.html
Janitor starts speaking out about it and his apartment is burglarized, laptop stolen:
http://kurtnimmo.blogspot.com/2005/08/apartment-of-nine-eleven-hero-william_28.html
Firefighters tell of multiple explosions:
http://www.wnbc.com/news/1315651/detail.html
Eyewitnesses tell of explosions:
http://research.amnh.org/users/tyson/essays/TheHorrorTheHorror.html
Interview with another firefighter telling of explosions:
http://www.nytimes.com/packages/html/nyregion/20050812_WTC_GRAPHIC/Banaciski_Richard.txt
Firefighter saw “sparkles” (strobe lights on detonators?) before “collapse”:
http://www.nytimes.com/packages/html/nyregion/20050812_WTC_GRAPHIC/Fitzpatrick_Tom.txt
Other eyewitnesses talk of seeing/hearing explosions:
http://georgewashington.blogspot.com/2005/11/more-proof-911-inside-job-witnesses-to.html
Surviving eyewitnesses talk of multiple explosions there:
http://www.thememoryhole.org/911/veliz-bombs.htm
Cutter charge explosions clearly visible:
http://www.rense.com/general63/cutt.htm
The pyroclastic cloud (that dust cloud that a second before was concrete) and how it wouldn’t be possible without explosives:
http://st12.startlogic.com/~xenonpup/physics/
Detailed description of the demolition of the Twin Towers:
http://gordonssite.tripod.com/id2.html
Freefall rate of “collapses” math:
http://www.911blimp.net/prf_FreeFallPhysics.shtml
More about their freefall rate “collapses”:
http://www.serendipity.li/wot/second_wave.htm
Video footage of the controlled demolition of the Twin Towers:
http://www.plaguepuppy.net/public_html/video%20archive/
Video footage of the controlled demolition of WTC # 7 building:
http://911research.wtc7.net/talks/wtc/videos.html
More of WTC # 7 controlled demolition:
http://www.wtc7.net/
Naudet brothers' video footage of the North Tower crash:
http://www.911blimp.net/vid_Naudet.shtml
Photos of the Pentagon’s lawn (look at these and see if you can tell me with a straight face that a jumbo jet crashed there):
http://www.911blimp.net/cached/HuntTheBoeing!.htm
More photos of this amazing lawn at the Pentagon:
http://cryptogon.com/docs/Introducing%20the%20amazing%20Penta-Lawn%202000!%20(9-11).htm
Very unconvincing fake “Osama” “confession” tape:
http://welfarestate.com/wtc/faketape/
More about the fake “Osama” tape:
http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/osamatape2.html
Fake “Mohammed Atta” “suicide” letter:
http://www.welfarestate.com/wtc/fake-letters.txt
Commercial pilots disagree with “official” 9/11 myth:
http://www.prisonplanet.com/september_11_us_government_accused.htm
More commercial jet pilots say “official” myth is impossible:
http://www.masternewmedia.org/2001/10/31/commercial_jet_pilots_analysis_of_the_twin_tower_attack.htm
Impossibility of cell phone calls from United 93:
http://www.physics911.net/cellphoneflight93.htm
More about the impossible cell phone calls:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO408B.html
Experiment proves cell phone calls were NOT possible from anywhere near the altitude the “official” myth has them at:
http://physics911.ca/org/modules/news/article.php?storyid=9
Fake Barbara Olson phone call:
http://www.vialls.com/lies911/lies.htm
Where the hell was the Air Force?
http://www.welfarestate.com/wtc/af-scramble.txt
More about the Air Force impotence question:
http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0331-11.htm
Sept. 10th 2001, Pentagon announces it is “missing” $2.3 trillion (now why do you think they picked THAT day to announce it? So it could be buried the next day by 9/11 news):
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/01/29/eveningnews/main325985.shtml
Unocal pipeline-through-Afghanistan plan:
http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0513/p05s01-wosc.html
Unocal pipeline-through-Afghanistan plan mentioned:
http://thetyee.ca/Views/2006/05/19/OutOfAfghanistan
More on Unocal Afghan pipeline:
http://www.newscentralasia.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=1031
The attack on Afghanistan was planned in the summer of 2001, months before 9/11:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/1550366.stm
Pentagon deliberately misled 9/11 Commission:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=EGG20060802&articleId=2887
Evidence destruction by authorities and cover-up:
http://www.flcv.com/coverup.html/
9/11 whitewash Commission and NORAD day:
http://fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/071204_final_fraud.shtml
The incredible fish tales of the 9/11 Commission examined:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=%20GR20051213&articleId=1478
Jeb Bush declares state of emergency 4 days before 9/11 for Florida, saying it will help respond to terrorism:
http://www.eionews.addr.com/psyops/news/jebknew.htm
Steel debris removal from Ground Zero, destruction of evidence:
http://911research.wtc7.net/wtc/groundzero/cleanup.html
Over two hundred incriminating bits of 9/11 evidence shown in the mainstream media:
http://thewebfairy.com/killtown/911smokingguns.html
Tracking the “hijackers”:
http://www.welfarestate.com/911/
“Hijacker” patsies:
http://911review.org/Wiki/HijackersPatsies.shtml
“Hijackers” receiving flight training at Pensacola Naval Air Station:
http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0208/S00085.htm
Several accused "hijackers" still alive and well, wondering why they are accused:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/1559151.stm
Yet the F.B.I. insists that the people it claims were the "hijackers" really were the "hijackers":
http://www.prisonplanet.com/fbi_denies_mix_up_of_911_terrorists.htm
No Arabs on Flight 77:
http://www.sierratimes.com/03/07/02/article_tro.htm
Thirty experts say “official” 9/11 myth impossible:
http://911fraud.blogspot.com/2005/06/us-governments-offical-911-story-is.html
“Al Qaeda” website tracks back to Maryland:
http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/alqmaryland.html
Al Qaeda videos uploaded from U.S. government website:
http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/july2004/140704governmentwebsite.htm
Operation: Northwoods, a plan for a false-flag “terror” attack to be blamed on Castro to use it as a pretext for America to invade Cuba, thankfully not approved by Kennedy back in 1962 but was approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and sent to his desk:
http://www.prisonplanet.com/us_terror_plan_cuba_invasion_pretext.html