Author: Journal Editor Page 1 of 8

Copi, the Fish Formally Known as Asian Carp; a Rebranding to Save the Great Lakes

Asian CarpCopi, The Fish Formally Known as Asian Carp; a Rebranding to Save the Great Lakes

 

By: Blythe Pabon

To protect the Great Lakes from Asian Carp, Illinois officials are turning to a strategy struggling artists have used for decades, a rebrand. [1] The Illinois Department of Natural Resources hired local Chicago Communication Studio, Span, with the crisis focused rebrand. [2] Asian Carp is an invasive species and poses substantial harm to Lake Michigan’s ecosystem, which provides drinking water for over half of the state of Illinois.[3] In its rebranding campaign, Span highlighted the truths about Asian carp, including how Asian Carp is the second healthiest fish in the world. In fact, the truth about Asian Carp’s copious and invasive nature inspired the new name, Copi.[4]

Read More

Microplastics in Chicago: The Issue and What is to be Done

Microplastics in ChicagoMicroplastics in Chicago: The Issue and What is to be Done

By: Jacob Regan

Microplastics are increasingly becoming a larger focal point in the discussion of pollution across the globe, including Chicago. The field of microplastic research is burgeoning. They are the subject of the worst environmental debacle in Sri Lankan history–the MV X-Press Pearl Disaster.[1] One estimate indicates that people consume a credit card’s worth of plastic a week.[2] A study found microplastics on 73% of beaches on Lake Michigan.[3] This is something with which Chicagoans and residents of Illinois must reckon.

Read More

Offshore Wind in Lake Michigan and the Illinois Public Trust Doctrine

By: Joseph Garza

From Rust Belt to Green Belt

Illinois lawmakers’ proposal to transform Chicago into a powerhouse of offshore wind energy production faces a critical legal challenge in the public trust doctrine. This proposal marks an important step for Illinois as it transitions from fossil fuels towards a future based in renewables.[1] HB4543, dubbed the Rust Belt to Green Belt Pilot Program Act (the Act), aims to bring offshore wind to Chicago in the most equitable way possible. The Act plans to focus new jobs created by this development to the south side of the city, whose workforce had once been heavily involved in the now-abandoned steel industry.[2] This goal is especially important in a city dealing with a troubling past devoid of environmental justice for marginalized communities.[3] With the Act going through its public participation stage, it is important to address one of its largest areas of opposition: the public trust doctrine.

Read More

Chicago is Losing its Duel with Climate Change: Water Levels Rise and Infrastructure Fails

By: Caitlin Federici

A warming climate has led to drastic swings in the water levels of Lake Michigan. Warmer temperatures lead to more evaporation and record-low water levels.[1] Colder temperatures mean reduced evaporation and greater ice cover resulting in record-high water levels.[2] While climate change causes the earth’s climate to trend warmer on average, these trends do not always manifest in a linear fashion. For instance, when warm air from the tropics moves too far north, it can disrupt the balance of the polar vortex sending blasts of arctic air much farther south than it would otherwise reach.[3] In Chicago, an unstable polar vortex equates to frigid winters and rising levels in Lake Michigan; multiple consecutive years of such instability can produce record-high water levels.[4]

Read More

The Ukrainian Invasion: Gas Prices & Oil Crack Spread

Read More

State-by-State Regulation of the Gray Wolf is Unsustainable

On February 10, 2022, a federal judge in California struck down a Trump-era rule issued in January 2021 that removed the gray wolf from the Endangered Species Act’s (ESA) List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife.[1] Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) responded by drafting legislation that would require the Secretary of the Interior to delist the gray wolf in Wyoming and the Western Great Lakes region which includes Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan.[2]

The legislation includes language that bars judicial review of the bill and prohibits the Secretary of the Interior from considering any other statute or regulation that would normally apply to delisting a protected species.[3] This would essentially codify state-by-state regulation of the wolf population in the Western Great Lakes and Wyoming, which would prevent future limitations on state powers over such regulations.

Read More

Illinois Court Pauses Dakota Access Pipeline Expansion

The Dakota Access, LLC, and Energy Transfer Crude Oil Company, LLC (collectively, “the carriers”), own the Dakota Access Pipeline that runs from North Dakota to southern Illinois.[1] The carriers submitted a plan to the Illinois Commerce Commission (“Commission”) to add additional pumping states in Illinois to accommodate the 2020 approval by North Dakota Regulators expanding the capacity of the pipeline from 570,000 to 1.1 million barrels per day.[2] The Commission granted the carrier’s petition and Save Our Illinois Land (“SOIL”), one of the environmental groups opposed to the petition, filed for a rehearing which the Commission denied.[3]

Read More

Illinois’ Electric Vehicle Bill Could Harm the Communities it Aims to Serve

A new Illinois (IL) bill, the Beneficial Electrification Act, would require the installation of electric vehicle (EV) ready parking spaces at all newly constructed and renovated buildings, both residential and commercial. The bill was approved by the Illinois General Assembly’s House Energy and Environment Committee on January 11, 2022.[1]

State Rep. Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston) introduced the bill which would not require the installation of the actual charging stations, rather, the parking spaces would need to be “EV ready,” meaning the installation of the electrical wiring, circuits, and outlets necessary to support a Level 2 charging station.[2]

Read More

AFFF Litigation Paving the Way for National PFAS Litigation

Forever chemicals, scientifically known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), have been produced and manufactured in a wide variety of industries since it was first discovered in the 1930s. Litigation and regulatory efforts have been underway for over two decades, arising from the ubiquity and persistence of PFAS and the growing amount of scientific evidence pointing towards PFAS exposure-based health impacts.[1] Characterized by their heat, oil, and water-resistant properties, PFAS are used in products as varied as pizza boxes, make-up, and firefighting foam.[2] The latter has been identified as a potential major source of PFAS contamination in the environment and drinking water–sparking a host of litigation efforts throughout the country.[3]

On September 27, 2018, a federal judicial panel decided to consolidate these cases by creating Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) 2873 set in the United States District Court of South Carolina.[4] MDL-2873 is comprised of over 1800 cases that have common questions of law and fact involving the use of aqueous film-forming foams (AFFFs) and PFAS contamination.[5] These cases generally allege that defendants, mostly major chemical manufacturers, contaminated groundwater with PFAS near various military bases, airports, and other industrial sites with the use of AFFFs.[6]

Read More

Chicago Moves Forward in Clean Air Efforts, But Uncertainty Remains for Developers and Businesses

In 2019, Chicago’s average air quality index (AQI) was 52 (“moderate”).[1] The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines “moderate” air quality as acceptable air quality, but for some pollutants, there may be a moderate health concern to a small number of individuals.[2] AQI ratings are calculated by weighing six key criteria pollutants for their risk to health: (1) ozone, (2) particulate matter, (3) carbon monoxide, (4) nitrogen dioxide), (5) sulfur dioxide, and (6) lead.[3] Particulate matter includes both PM10 and PM2.5, which are the numbers referring to the particle’s diameter in micrometers.[4]

Read More

Page 1 of 8

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén