MEDIA ADVISORY AND DAYBOOK ITEM FOR WEDNESDAY, MAR. 30, 2022

Wednesday, March 30, 2022, 3:50 PM

Contact:

Carlos Enriquez, CEJN, carlos@setaskforce.org, 815-342-5717

Ivan Moreno, NRDC, imoreno@nrdc.org, 773-799-6455

Industry Stalls Illinois’ Environmental Justice Act in State Senate, Community and Electeds Urge for a Vote

WEDNESDAY, Environmental justice organizations from across the state will be joined by Sen. Celina Villanueva (D-11) for a press conference calling on Illinois’ Senate to pass the Environmental Justice Act that would help end the accumulation of pollution in vulnerable communities.

The Act (HB4093/SB2906) would reform the state’s industrial permitting, allowing more community participation and transparency throughout the process. The press conference will include Chicagoans who live in communities where polluting industries are allowed to accumulate and often set up operations with little scrutiny or community notice.

The legislation comes in response to decades of environmental disasters and the accumulation of toxic industry in Illinois’ communities of color. The environmental justice movement was born out of the pollution surrounding Chicago’s Altgeld Gardens on the Southeast Side. Chicago Southeast Side advocates point to state permitting laws for allowing almost 250 industrial sites to accumulate in their community and for permitting new polluters to set up operations across the state – often next to homes, schools and parks – with little scrutiny.

When: Wednesday, Mar. 30, 2022, at 11:00a.m. Central Time

Where: Fb Stream

Who:

• Moderator, Gina Ramirez, Board President of SETF, NRDC Action Fund Senior Advisor

• Sen. Celina Villanueva, from Illinois’ 11th district

• Alfredo Romo, Executive Director of Neighbors For Environmental Justice

• Cheryl Johnson, Executive Director of People for Community Recovery

• Kim Wasserman, Executive Director of Little Village Environmental Justice Organization

• Leah Hartung, Steering Committee of Clean Power Lake County

Background:

The Illinois Environmental Justice Act: • Creates the first definition of environmental justice in the Illinois Environmental Protection Act.

• Requires translation services automatically be provided at public hearings in areas of linguistic isolation.

• Requires that large air pollution facilities go through a local siting process that is similar to the process used for landfills and other large polluting waste facilities, increasing the ability for communities to weigh in on large air permits.

• Requires applicants for large air pollution facilities to hold public hearings in environmental justice communities and conduct a cumulative impact review of air pollution.

• Gives community members standing to challenge more permitting decisions by the IEPA.

• Creates a project bank in environmental justice communities for those that have violated pollution laws to ensure that projects are guided by the community.

• Codifies a process for protected classes to file a grievance for civil rights violations regarding environmental pollution.

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