December 30, 2008

Happy New Year, Indeed!

While the headlines of the day may make Illinois' political landscape seem hopelessly mired in scandal and legal uncertainty, and make saving the planet seem far from the Springfield agenda; we are closer than you may realize to major transformational change coming from, of all places, our state capitol, on the big issues facing our state and our civilization.

That's why, looking at the big picture, I am very excited about the prospect for real change in 2009 and beyond.

As environmentalists who have worked with Barack Obama for over a decade on clean energy and environmental health issues, we are especially proud and excited to see an Illinois environmental champion putting energy and environmental protection at the center of his agenda for America. We know first-hand, from our work with him over the years in Springfield and as our U.S. Senator, his commitment to a better environment is real, and that change is coming for our country and our planet.

We had other big victories at the ballot box in 2008 that will help change Illinois politics for the greener. Sierra Club helped elect a new class of state legislators, Democrats and Republicans, who are committed to solving global warming, protecting our water, and rebuilding the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Change has come to America, and we are bringing it to Springfield as well.

While we are working hard to usher in a new era of solutions, we also are working hard to end the era of old, dirty energy. We won a big victory to stop a new dirty coal plant proposed for Franklin County. We are teaming up with local farmers to fight the ravaging impacts of longwall mining in southern and western Illinois.

We are building new partnerships for solutions with unusual allies. To help solve global warming, we are teaming up with faith groups like the American Jewish Committee, Protestants for the Common Good, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. We are nurturing future environmental leaders through work with the Boys and Girls Clubs Of Chicago, and by hosting youth fishing derbies. To rebuild the Illinois Department of Natural Resources after years of cuts and neglect, we work with sportsmen partners like Ducks Unlimited and Pheasants Forever. We are building broad support for a green economy by joining with labor and workforce advocates in the Chicagoland Green Collar Jobs Initiative. We work with over 30 Illinois Cool Cities, whose mayors have pledged local efforts to save energy and combat climate change.

The work we have done together in 2008 gives us much to celebrate, but we also plan for a very ambitious 2009, when we will need all of our new strength and then some to make the most of the historic opportunities that lie ahead.

We are gearing up to make sure that Illinois’ members of Congress will be part of the solution as we change America’s energy, pollution, and conservation policies for the better.

Springfield is in a state of crisis this holiday season, but we are planning for big new opportunities once the current scandals are resolved, and the public’s demand for change is heard in out state capitol. We are ready to reverse cuts to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, to make Illinois a clean car state, and to move ahead with new programs to cut global warming pollution. Current headlines make us wonder if Illinois politics is broken forever, but we believe brighter days are ahead, and we want to be ready to make sure the environment is a big winner in the new political landscape that must surely follow these chaotic days.

Anything is possible, and with your support and engagement, we are dreaming big.

Happy New Year indeed!

October 17, 2008

Party for Change SUNDAY!

This election is about change, and Sierra Club Illinois PAC is working to make sure that that includes change for the better in Springfield.

This Sunday night we are throwing a party to help support these efforts, and you're invited. Kingston Mines is a legend on the Chicago blues scene, and Linsey Alexander & the L.A.B.B. will be providing the groove. $40 gets you the show and a soul food buffet.

Kingston Mines is non-smoking and family friendly! Kids love it!

4th Annual Blues & Greens
Party for Sierra Club Illinois PAC
Sunday, October 19, 2008. 5 pm till 8 pm.
Kingston Mines Blues Club • 2548 N. Halsted • Chicago

Tickets: $40 each, includes soul food buffet, cash bar
No smoking, children welcome!

Contact Jennifer Hensley to reserve your ticket today (312) 251-1680x3, or

September 10, 2008

Hope for the IDNR

Today legislators in the House and Senate began a campaign to keep our state parks open, and avoid the layoffs of IDNR staff looking out for our natural resources.

State Rep. Naomi Jakobsson (D-Champaign-Urbana) and State Sen. Linda Holmes announced bills in both the House (HB 6698) and Senate (SB 3057) to restore the cuts made by the Governor in July.

Jakobsson and other sponsors of the House legislation held a press conference in Springfield today to call for the cuts to be restored, and Holmes issued a statement:
“The budget cuts would result in drastic reductions at IDNR, and close parks and historic sites that are economic engines for local communities," said Holmes. "The IDNR staff who work every day to protect our drinking water, wildlife, and provide safe outdoor recreation opportunities are too important to be on the chopping block because of political fighting in Springfield.”

The cuts also threaten funding for an effort to plan and secure future drinking water supplies for the entire state, particularly the fast-growing northeastern Illinois region.

"Protecting enough clean water is a major challenge for our fast- growing communities, and these cuts threaten to halt those efforts before we have a plan for the future," said Holmes. "Our local governments and citizens have been working hard on the Regional Water Supply Study, and to stop now would jeopardize reliable drinking water for future generations.”
The House Democrats have introduced a third proposal that would restore enough funding to prevent park closures and layoffs, but not replace all the Department's funding. That is expected to be heard today or tomorrow. The Senate has not yet scheduled any session days prior to the cuts taking effect November 1st.

We're a long way from saving these jobs and parks, but at least it's a start. Hopefully their leaders and colleagues will follow the lead of Jakobsson and Holmes, and save IDNR from the chopping block. The clock is ticking.

August 29, 2008

The Ax Falls on the IDNR

Illinois Democrats may be hugging out in Denver, but back home on Thursday 39 IDNR employees were notified that they'll be out of a job November 1st as a result of budget cuts announced by Governor Blagojevich in July.

Eleven state parks and fifteen state historic sites will close. The state parks that will close November 1st are:

* Hennepin Canal Parkway State Park
* Illini State Park near Marseilles
* Wolf Creek State Park
* Castle Rock State Park, Oregon
* Lowden State Park, Oregon
* Hidden Springs State Forest, Strasburg
* Channahon Parkway State Park, Channahon
* Gebhard Woods State Park, Morris
* Kickapoo State Park, Oakwood
* Moraine View State Park, Leroy
* Weldon Springs State Park, Clinton

These layoffs and closings would be totally unnecessary if our leaders in Springfield would get together on a budget solution. There is still time - but the Governor's action Thursday started the clock ticking.

We need the General Assembly and the Governor to act before the end of September to restore the cuts, keep these parks open, and keep those who run them and look out for our natural resources on the job.

August 28, 2008

Denver's Green Streak

I am out in Denver for the convention this week, and am just amazed at the level of discussion around energy and environmental issues. At times it has felt more like a clean energy conference with politics in the background.

This is not just a steady, incremental increase in focus compared to past conventions - energy policy is now squarely at the center of the debate over America's future. The combination of global warming, energy prices, national security concerns, and, increasingly, the potential for green job creation has changed the public debate with lightning speed.

I've been at a whole host of discussions, receptions, panels, etc on aspects of the energy and environmental debate, with corporate leaders, environmental advocates, elected officials, labor leaders, and others. Many politicians are making energy the focus of their speeches (wasn't Gov. Schweizer (MT) great on Tuesday night?), and it is rare that a speech on any topic doesn't include a call to solve global warming and create green jobs.

Don't get me wrong - the status quo is certainly out in force. The coal industry is visible from the moment you step off the plane at the airport to ubiquitous paid people on the street passing out "clean coal" propoganda. The Illinois delegation goodie bag included a foam lump of "coal", a nice souvenir for the kids. However, elected officials here are generally on message that solutions lie in the future, not in the past. Solar, wind, and conservation are the applause-getters in speeches. As Illinoisans, we can all be proud that we have already passed some of the solutions leaders are talking about for America - like our 25% renewable energy requirement by 2025, or our major new energy efficiency programs that ComEd are preparing to roll out in response to 2007's clean energy law.

So tonight, there are lots of reasons to be proud to be from Illinois - let's keep it up!

July 23, 2008

IDNR On The Chopping Block

OK, we get it. The state's finances are about as solid as the "quaking bog" at Volo Bog State Natural Area. There seem to be as many bones of contention and disagreements between legislative leaders and the Governor as grains of sand at Illinois Beach State Park.

However, I think all of our leaders would tell you that the cuts to the Department of Natural Resources' budget that take effect Thursday are undesirable and unnecessary. And yet, while our state parks were full of people this week enjoying the great outdoors, mostly unaware of the looming threat to their ability to have that experience, our state capitol was empty of the leadership needed to solve the problem. The cuts that will devastate the IDNR go into effect without any last-minute drama or frantic attempts to reverse them by any of the leaders who could do so.

That, campers, is the sad state of affairs in our state capitol.

Oh, there are a lot of people working hard to reverse the cuts. Sierra Club and our allies in the Partners for Parks and Wildlife coalition held events at parks across the state Tuesday. We were joined by a remarkably diverse group of local elected officials, economic development advocates, outdoor recreation groups, educators, and more, all motivated on very short notice by the prospect of the unthinkable: an Illinois DNR, already strained by staff reductions going back to 2001, facing massive layoffs and the probability of park closures, environmental protection programs eliminated or scaled even further back, and recreation and education opportunities eliminated. We are looking at the sudden termination of a project to ensure adequate drinking water supplies downstate and in Chicago's suburbs, of efforts to make sure we don't put people and property at increased flood risk by regulating floodplain development, and letting go the scientists who we count on to protect the Prairie State's natural heritage for future generations.

The participation in these events was very strong, the media coverage widespread - see some of it below. Will it make a difference?

It's not too late. Yes, Governor Blagojevich's cuts take effect Thursday, but the pink slips don't have to go out right away to the people protecting our water, wildlife, and natural heritage. The Governor can keep the Department running at current levels, and commit to passing a supplemental appropriations bill to restore funding to pre-cut levels. The members and leaders of the Illinois General Assembly can agree to pass such a bill at their earliest opportunity.

Now that would take actually talking to each other, and leading. I think we all hope that that's still possible. If not, the damage will not be temporary - it will take a decade or more to recover from.

Here's some of the press coverage of the situation:

Our View: Pummeling Illinois' park system - Peoria, IL -

Groups lobby to restore DNR funds

Nature groups urge governor to hold off on budget cuts

Park advocates want state money restored

DNR and Budget Cuts

Park advocates want state money restored

Blagojevich administration mum on effects of budget cuts

States could close parks

Parks feel budget cuts


Parks Losing Conservation Officers

Nature a loser in budget cuts, advocates say

State's natural resource agency itself is endangered, conservationists say,0,1286684.story

State's DNR cuts could be 'devastating',5_1_WA23_DNRCUTS_S1.article

Critics pan governor's IDNR budget cuts

Environmentalists ask for public support in fighting budget cuts for state parks

Budget Cuts Put State Parks at Risk

Protesters: Save state parks

June 28, 2008

Springfield's Stalemate A Hostile Environment

In the weeks since the adjournment, at least temporarily, of the General Assembly's spring session, I have been thinking a lot about how the dysfunction under the dome has dragged down the environmental agenda.

In recent years Illinois' environmental community has had an impressive run of big legislative victories on some the major policy questions of our time. In 2007, the electric rate relief package included some of the strongest clean energy provisions of any state - 25% of household electricity will come from wind in the future as a result, and ComEd and Ameren are busy getting ready to roll out major new energy conservation programs as a result. We've required a 90% reduction in mercury from our coal plants, and banned mercury in car parts, thermometers, and other products. We got nearly all of the phosphorus, which causes nasty algae blooms in our rivers and lakes, out of dishwashing detergent. Illinois ratified the Great Lakes Compact, to protect Lake Michigan from being drained by thirsts outside the region. We passed the nation's first Cool Cities Act, to give state support to mayors fighting climate change at the local level. We have new champions in all four caucuses of the General Assembly, and are more active than ever in electing new leaders across the state.

Given all this, we set our sights high for 2008, and launched ambitious campaigns to fight global warming, protect open space, and clean up toxics. As the dust settles on this Spring's legislative session, none of these initiatives crossed the finish line, despite heroic efforts by many. What happened?

Clearly, while the green engine inside the Capitol is building steam, the wheels have fallen off the rest of the train, and no amount of strength or smarts by advocates or individual legislators was enough to pull some very bright ideas through some very dark, deep tunnels.

State Representative Karen May (D-Highland Park) and a hardy band of champions are leading the drive to make Illinois the 15th Clean Car State by requiring cleaner versions of the cars we now drive that would reduce asthma attacks and save Illinois over $1 billion every year at the pump because they use a lot less gas. Who wouldn't want that? A statewide poll conducted May 22nd found that 90% of Illinoisans support the bill, and the support was strong everywhere - downstate, collar counties, and Chicago residents all want clean cars. However, the auto industry clings very tightly to their failed business strategy of refusing to make and sell the cars that more and more people want to buy. They waged a campaign of misinformation against the bill, and time ran out on the session before Rep. May could bring the bill up for a vote of the full House. A measure supported by 9 out of 10 Illinoisans will have to wait.

The passage of a state capital projects bill could potentially be a major source of funding environmental initiatives. The version of the Illinois Works proposal unveiled at the start of the session's last week contained no funding for open space protection, and was weighted towards roads rather than mass transit. By the end of the session's final week, thanks to hard work by House Republicans like Leader Tom Cross and Rep. Beth Coulson, and by House Democrats Julie Hamos, Elaine Nekritz, and Karen May, the plan was amended to include $200 million in open space funding - substantially less than needed over the life of the plan, but it was a start. After the package cleared the Senate, it died in the Illinois House as key funding mechanisms for the package were rejected.

State Senator Susan Garrett (D-Lake Forest) has worked for two years to come up with a plan to require recycling of computers and electronic waste in Illinois. After countless hours of negotiations with with computer and electronics manufacturers and advocates from the Environmental Law and Policy Center, Garrett came up with a product agreed to by most parties that passed both the Senate and the House, but failed to become law as the clock ran out before the Senate could give their approval to an amendment added in the House.

Several proposals to better protect our health from dangerous toxins got stuck in the mire. The chemical industry killed proposals to ban a few of the most dangerous toxins from some of the products we buy. A bill to require labeling of baby toys that contain brain-damaging lead failed, as did an effort to take mercury out of cosmetic products. While Illinoisans are embracing ways to detox their homes, Springfield resists them, even after Environment Illinois brought a toxics detection tool to the Capitol one day to show legislators just how widespread these unnecessary toxins are - right in their offices. Maybe that explains a few things?

So we have some very bright, hard-working champions in office, dedicated advocates both in the Capitol and in the districts raising these issues with their legislators, and an agenda with broad, growing public support. Unfortunately, that wasn't enough in this difficult year. So what's an advocate to do now?

This November's election is going to be about change, and we have a chance to harness that attention and energy from the electorate to break the Springfield logjam by electing more environmental champions to join the strong core who are already there putting the public's interest first. We need to help our friends who work so hard under such difficult circumstances, and bring in reinforcements next year to make the bipartisan team of environmental leaders strong enough to succeed in spite of whatever political battles lay ahead. Then we can get back to the business of making Illinois a model for America to follow.

May 16, 2008

Who's Hiding The Hybrids?

Great piece Wednesday night on WMAQ-TV on how hard it is for many car buyers to find hybrid cars.

Many buyers are told to go to a clean car state if they want to buy a hybrid. HB 3424, set for a vote next week in the Illinois House, would make Illinois a Clean Car State.

Do you know where your State Rep stands on HB3424?

Who's Hiding The Hybrids? - Videos - WMAQ

May 13, 2008

Durbin, Obama Say 'Nay' to Old Energy Policies

Good to see Sens. Durbin and Obama on the prevailing side in this big vote earlier today:

U.S. Senate today voted down an amendment by a margin of 42 to 56 (60 votes were needed for approval) that would have opened pristine lands and coastal waters, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, to new oil drilling. It would have also promoted the use of
expensive, dirty, and dangerous "unconventional" fuels produced from liquid coal and oil shale.

Senators Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Pete Domenici, (R-N.M.), attempted to tack their disastrous Domestic Energy Production Act tack onto the flood relief bill. This follows a renewed call from President Bush and his allies in Congress for more of the same disastrous energy policies that have saddled us with our present energy and economic crises.

Here is a statement of Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope on the vote:

"The answer to our oil addiction is not to search for a bigger fix. Drilling our coasts and national treasures like the Arctic Refuge and spending billions on dirty and expensive boondoggles like liquid coal and oil shale won't help hardworking Americans cope with gas prices. It will only add to the tens of billions of dollars the oil industry is already making.

"Even at peak production, which could take twenty years, the Arctic Refuge would provide roughly a year's worth of oil and would reduce gas prices at most by one or two cents a gallon.

"Under the leadership of President Bush and his allies in Congress, gas prices have more than doubled, Big Oil has made more than half a trillion dollars in profits over the past five years, and the United States has become even more dangerously addicted to fossil fuels.

"Hardworking Americans need real relief instead of the recycled rhetoric and disastrous energy policies that the president and his allies in Congress have pushed for the past seven years. Thankfully the leadership in the Senate has put forward a plan that will actually protect consumers, put America on the path toward a clean energy future, and finally put the
brakes on the taxpayer-funded giveaways that have been helping fuel Big Oil's record profits.

"Instead of searching for more ways to pad Big Oil's bottom line, the Consumer-First Energy Act offers Senators a chance to stop writing a blank check to Big Oil and instead protect consumers and invest in clean energy.

"These are the kind of answers we need—solutions that will bring energy costs under control, combat global warming, and leave America's last wild places intact."

April 14, 2008

Gas Hits $4 - Cleaner Cars, Anyone?

Today in Chicago I saw my first $4/gallon gas. $4.04, to be exact (it was for premium). Temporary price spike, or taste of the future?

You know the feeling - your gas gauge is reading low (that tank went fast!), and you're wondering "how much is it gonna be this time?" You pull into your local Big Oil outlet and wish there was Something Somebody Could Do.

Turns out, there is. The Illinois House is considering the Illinois Clean Car Act, which would bring a cleaner version of the same car you drive now to Illinois. They're already required in 13 other states, but here we get the versions that put out more pollution and use more gas. Whatever car you need - SUV or sedan, pickup or compact, it comes in a cleaner version that uses less gas - you just can't buy it here.

Unless, of course, the Illinois General Assembly passes House Bill 3424, the Illinois Clean Car Act. A new report released today by Environment Illinois finds that, collectively, Illinois drivers would save $1.24 billion each and every year at the gas pump. A nice reward for making a big dent in global warming pollution, and preventing 100,000 asthma attacks and other respiratory symptoms annually.

So Somebody CAN Do Something. That Somebody is your State Representative. Do your part in Illinois' driver for clean air here.

March 29, 2008

Lights Out, Chicago!

Tonight from 8-9PM is "Earth Hour", when people across the globe will be turning off unnecessary lights and appliances in a symbolic show of strength in the fight against global warming.

Obviously we need a lot more than one dark hour to solve global warming, but it is impressive to see the lengths to which the City of Chicago and its partners are going to drive participation tonight.

It's too bad the forecast calls for a cloudy night, it would have made for amazing stargazing. Still, those with a view of the Chicago skyline should see some dramatic images of iconic skyscrapers going dark.

Of course, people anywhere can participate, so lights out, everyone!

Earth Hour US - Earth Hour 2008

March 07, 2008

Bill Foster For Congress

Voters have a clear environmental choice in the March 8th special election in the 14th Congressional District. Bill Foster's strong science background gives him a unique understanding of the challenges facing our environment, and he will be an articulate advocate for solving global warming, protecting endangered species, and cleaning up air and water pollution.

He supports:

-Setting limits on greenhouse gas pollution
-Promoting smart energy solutions, like renewables and energy efficiency, to create jobs, cut our dependence on foreign oil and cut pollution
-Strengthening the Clean Water Act, to better protect Illinois' wetlands, our Fox River, and all of America's waters
-Protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil drilling

Bill Foster is a scientist who has won an energy efficiency award from the Department of Energy, is uniquely poised to not only protect our national treasures like the Arctic, but also to help lead us to a new green economy that will create new jobs in our state while helping us to meet the challenges associated with global warming.

Sierra Club endorses Bill Foster, and urges all 14th District voters who want to see Congress do more to protect our environment to support him in Saturday's special election.

January 30, 2008

Champions For Change In Springfield

Here are Sierra Club's endorsements for General Assembly in the February 5th Republican and Democratic Primary elections. An unusual number of contested races this year creates new opportunities to elect environmental champions, and unprecedented threats to the General Assembly’s current environmental leaders. These are Democrats and Republicans we know will fight for smart energy solutions, healthy air and water, and open space.

The next General Assembly will decide whether Illinois takes serious action to fight global warming, create jobs in the new energy economy, and protect our drinking water from pollution. These are Democrats and Republicans, from downstate, the suburbs, and Chicago, who know that protecting the environment is good for the economy, good for our health, and good for our pocketbooks.

The legislature is expected to address major energy and environmental issues in the near future, including:

-Whether Illinois becomes the next “clean car” state, joining 14 others that have opted for cars that save money at the pump by using less gas, and put out less pollution

-State limits on global warming pollution, with major incentives for the creation of “green collar jobs”

-State programs to protect open spaces from development

-New drinking water safeguards

Illinois is on the verge of some very exciting changes that provide an economic boost while making our state a healthier place. However, to make these changes we need champions for solutions in Springfield, and we are proud to recommend this slate to Illinois primary voters.

Sierra Club has made these endorsements in primary elections so far. More endorsements will be made for the fall general election. Our priority with this round was to consider contested primary races.

Illinois House of Representatives

7 Karen Yarbrough (D)
9 Arthur Turner (D)
11 John Fritchey (D)
12 Sara Feigenholtz (D)
13 Greg Harris (D)
14 Harry Osterman (D)
16 Lou Lang (D)
17 Elizabeth Coulson (R)
18 Julie Hamos (D)
22 Sandy Pihos (R)
25 Barbara Flynn-Currie (D)
26 Will Burns (D)
27 Monique Davis (D)
29 David Miller (D)
34 Connie Howard (D)
38 Al Riley (D)
41 Bob Biggins (R)
48 Dave Carlin (R)
56 Paul Froehlich (D)
57 Elaine Nekritz (D)
58 Karen May (D)
59 Kathy Ryg (D)
62 Sandy Cole (R)
66 Christine Prochno (R)
71 Mike Boland (D)
78 Deborah Graham (D)
92 Allen Mayer (D)
96 Darlene Senger (R)

Illinois Senate

2 William Delgado (D)
7 Heather Steans (D)
41 Christine Radogno (R)
3 Mattie Hunter (D)
6 John Cullerton (D)
12 Martin Sandoval (D)
21 Dan Cronin (R)
29 Susan Garrett (D)
30 Terry Link (D)
39 Don Harmon (D)
42 Linda Holmes (D)

Sierra Club volunteers are working to assist the campaigns and educate area voters about the candidates’ positions on the issues. Sierra Club represents over 25,000 members in Illinois, and has been reaching to involve those members and, through Sierra Club Illinois Political Action Committee, the general public in these campaigns.

More information about Sierra Club’s endorsements is available at

January 23, 2008

A Clean Water Ticket For MWRD

Sierra Club has endorsed three candidates in the February 5th Democratic Primary for Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. Sierra Club recommends a “clean water ticket” of Dean Maragos, Matthew Podgorski , and Mariyana Spyropoulos to Democratic primary voters in Cook County.

The safety and quality of our water supply will be on the ballot on February 5th, and these are three candidates voters can trust to safeguard our Chicago River and Lake Michigan. Each is committed to clean water, and will be champions for the changes we need to make to protect public health and drinking water.

The revival of the Chicago River is a huge success story, and people are flocking to it as a recreational resource. They should not be exposed to dangerous bacteria and pathogens in the water because MWRD chooses not to install the same disinfection equipment used by cities and towns all across Illinois and America, including by the MWRD itself at its plants in the suburbs.

None of the incumbents have committed to install disinfection equipment.

Maragos, Podgorski, and Spyropoulos would work to change that, and protect our water supply. We think they deserve the vote of those who want clean water on February 5th.

This is a chance to complete the revival of the Chicago River, and make it a safe and vibrant centerpiece of our city. Maragos, Podgorski, and Spyropoulos are leaders who have a vision for a clean and healthy river system for future generations.

The MWRD also has important responsibilities for protecting open space and guarding against flooding. Maragos, Podgorski, and Spyropoulos support new protections for Cook County’s last remaining wetlands, which soak up rainwater during storms, and using MWRD’s large land holdings for public purposes like recreation, wildlife habitat, and other non-commercial uses.

"We are at a generational crossroads where the decisions we make today regarding our natural resources will affect future generations. We have the knowledge and capability to make the right decisions, such as protecting Lake Michigan from pollutants and disinfecting our waterways,” said Mariyana Spyropoulos. “Let’s find the will to protect our natural resources."

“I would like to thank the members of the Sierra Club for putting their faith in me to serve as a true steward of our water environment,” said Matthew Podgorski. “Paying lip service to environmental causes will no longer suffice. The voters are ready to elect a Commissoner to the MWRD that has proven environmental leadership credentials.”

“What many voters do not realize is that the MWRD is one of the largest single landowners in Cook County. The District must pursue the best and highest use of that land, be it for picnicking, recreation or prairies,” said Dean Maragos, who is currently a Commissioner at the Illinois International Port District, the agency that controls most of Chicago’s southern lakefront. “The Sierra Club’s endorsement of my candidacy is a great honor I won’t soon forget. It will give voters an opportunity to better understand where I stand on important environmental issues while highlighting my sincere desire to increase recreational access to Chicago’s rivers and streams, which is an important step in improving our region’s water resources,” Maragos added.