June 12, 2012
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Victory! Factory Farms to Finally Pay Fees for EPA Enforcement
On May 22, the Illinois General Assembly passed the Clean Water Funding Fairness Act (HB 5642), ending the livestock industry’s unique exemption from paying fees for their water pollution permits.
Illinois’ 25,000 plus livestock operations produce over 10 million tons of waste annually. The waste is often stored improperly or in structures that leak, and nearly half of the inspected facilities have at least one violation of the state’s environmental regulations. And yet the Illinois EPA has had fewer than 10 staff members to regulate this industry.
This new bill (which will be signed by Governor Quinn) requires factory farms, or CAFOs, to pay an annual fee to discharge pollution the same as all other industries under a permit issued by Illinois EPA. The permit allows discharges to occur only during heavy rainfall events. These fees will provide the Illinois EPA with money needed for factory farm inspections and permitting. This a big step towards industry accountability for and the protection of water in Illinois!
And a very sincere thank you to all our members for making this victory possible!
You can read the story on our website.
Take Action! Make a call for Conservation Compliance
The Cardin amendment to the Farm Bill would ensure that crop insurance is linked to Conservation Compliance, which will result in less soil erosion and more wetlands preserved.
Coal Mine Stakeholder Meeting – Tonight, June 13th in Homer
Champaign and Vermilion county residents, landowners, and farmers will hold a meeting to discuss the threats from and next steps in addressing the proposed coal mine in Vermilion County.
Date: June 13, 2012
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Homer United Methodist Church, 301 South Main Street, in Homer
Public concern has been rising about the negative impacts a coal mine might have on clean water, farmland, and health. For more information, please read the press release.
Mine Near Starved Rock May be Beginning of Illinois Fracking Sand Boom
Local residents, Starved Rock State Park fans, Prairie Rivers Network, and others have been engaged in the details of the proposed Starved Rock Sand Mine since November, 2011. The area has a particular type of sand that is in high demand for oil and gas fracking.
Some are concerned that noise and dust from the mine will affect the people and wildlife that use the park. Prairie Rivers Network is concerned that the mine could drain a rare, brackish wetland, with high quality plant communities and specific habitat for threatened and endangered species.
The larger fear is that this story is just the beginning of a fracking-sand mining boom here in Illinois. We will keep you informed when we know about mining threats to your water, but local residents and community groups need to be aware of the other possible threats to land use.
Paddling Opportunity: Explore Potters Marsh by Canoe
Please join Prairie Rivers Network and Upper Mississippi River Refuge staff on Saturday, June 30 to explore Potters Marsh by canoe.
Potters Marsh is not just a place – it is a river restoration success story!
There will be two paddling programs, from 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., and 1:00-4:00 p.m. Participants must be 12 years of age (accompanied by an adult) or older. Canoes and life vests will be provided or participants can bring their own equipment. Do bring your binoculars! This event is free, but space is limited. Registration is required. For additional information, contact Cecily Smith, csmith @ prairierivers.org, 217.351.
Call for River Steward Nominations!
Do you know a volunteer who is working hard to protect the state’s rivers and streams? Help celebrate and elevate their important work by nominating them for our 8th Annual River Steward Award.
THE DEADLINE IS AUGUST 20, 2012.
For more information on the nomination process, please read our webpost.
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