Illinois

Waukegan reaches milestone in harbor cleanup

Read the full story in the Chicago Tribune.

Waukegan Harbor has reached a pivotal moment in its history — one that city leaders hope will revive its sagging economy — with the culmination of a 30-year, $150 million cleanup to rid the shoreline of contamination left by the city’s former industrial giants along Lake Michigan.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday that the harbor has met requirements to be removed from a list of 43 polluted sites dubbed the “Great Lakes Areas of Concern.” The federal agency will continue to monitor the site for an unspecified amount of time, possibly a few years, before it is officially “de-listed,” officials said.

Illinois DCEO Solar and Wind Rebate Program is now open

Guidelines and application are available here. All applications must be submitted, without exception, on the new forms for Fiscal Year 2015 and must be filled out completely and signed and dated by both the applicant and the installer/project manager. Any applications received under previous application forms will be rejected.

DCEO will accept applications for the random selection until October 10th, 2014. Applications will be assigned a number as they are received, and there will a pre-selected list of random numbers that will be used as the order we will consider applications. DCEO will keep moving down the list of applications based on the random numbers list until all rebate funds have been allocated. The remaining applications will be on a waiting list and will be considered (again, based on the random number list) as projects are cancelled or if additional funds become available.

DCEO is continuing to require that the application be submitted by the applicant. While the installer/developer may assist in filling out application and organizing the required documents, the application cannot be sent to us by the installer.

All solar PV and wind energy systems, except those that are self-installed, must be installed by a certified distributed generation installer. (Illinois Commerce Commission’s certified list is available at http://www.icc.illinois.gov/utility/Certified.aspx?type=24). DCEO will not approve an application until it can be confirmed that the installer has been certified by the ICC.

The Final Documentation Checklist (Section 4.2 and Appendix C of new guidelines) has also been updated to require that applicants provide the approved interconnection application or the Certificate of Completion from the utility (if applicable).

DCEO prefers that applications be submitted via email (ceo.rerp@illinois.gov), though applications may be sent through regular mail. However, please do not submit both ways – just need one copy of the application. If you send applications by email, you will receive a response that your application has been received.

Approximately $2.5 million has been allocated to the rebate program this fiscal year.

University of Illinois Extension Announces Successful Awards

University of Illinois Extension recently announced awards for six collaborative projects, totaling over $1.2 million, to interdisciplinary teams of faculty and staff. The awards were part of the University of Illinois Extension and Outreach Initiative, a special partnership between U of I Extension, the Dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences (ACES), and the Office of the Provost. The six awards were selected from a pool of 71 pre-proposals from 16 different campus units.

“We were very pleased with the number and quality of the proposals we received from across campus in response to this initiative,” said Robert Hauser, Dean of ACES. “The six projects moving forward are outstanding examples of the impact and value that extension and outreach can provide to a variety of disciplines throughout the University.”

University of Illinois Extension is the flagship outreach arm of the University. Extension’s statewide network of educators and county-based offices provide programming in economic development, health and nutrition, agriculture and natural resources, and youth development. Traditionally, most Extension programs are related to departments within the College of ACES. This Extension and Outreach Initiative was aimed at establishing programs with departments and units elsewhere on campus.

Principal investigators and project titles:

  • Jon Gant, Library of Information Science and Illinois Informatics Institute, Graduate School of Library and Information Science. “Enhancing Economic Development in Illinois with Digital Tech Hub Creativity Studios.”
  • Kevin Hamilton, Department of Art and Design, Fine and Applied Arts. “Designing for Health in Central Illinois.”
  • Lenny Pitt, Department of Computer Science, College of Engineering. “4-H Computing Connections.”
  • Aric Rindfleisch, College of Business. “Marketplace Literacy and 3-D Printing: Enabling Economic Development for Impoverished Communities.”
  • Kim Sheahan, Spurlock Museum, Liberal Arts and Sciences. “An Artifact Speaks.”
  • Wei Zheng, Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, Prairie Research Institute. “Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products: Extending Knowledge and Mitigation Strategies.”

Hauser explained that the Initiative was intended to expand Extension’s research base across the Urbana campus, raise awareness of Extension among faculty and stakeholders, and advance the University’s land grant mission through new, innovative partnerships.

“This year we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Smith Lever Act, the federal legislation that launched Cooperative Extension at Land Grant institutions nationwide,” Hauser said. “We are working to broaden our approach to provide research-based information from the whole University.”

For more information about University of Illinois Extension, visit extension.illinois.edu. University of Illinois Extension provides educational programs and research-based information to help Illinois residents improve their quality of life, develop skills and solve problems.

Illinois coal plant owners say they’ve done their part

Read the full story in the Chicago Tribune.

Owners of coal- and natural gas-fired power plants in Illinois told regulators Monday that they should look to other generators to reduce the state’s carbon footprint.

U.S. EPA won’t grant Clinton landfill PCB permit

Read the full story in the News-Gazette.

The federal chemical waste permit that a DeWitt County landfill had been waiting on for years will not move forward, the U.S. EPA said on Wednesday.

The decision is based on the state EPA’s action at the end of July to ban certain chemicals at Clinton Landfill, which sits above the underground source of drinking water for 750,000 central Illinoisans. Before that, the landfill had been waiting for seven years for the federal EPA to approve a request to start accepting polychlorinated biphenyl-contaminated waste.

Quinn signs water-safety legislation into law

Read the full story in the Chicago Tribune.

Gov. Pat Quinn on Sunday signed into law three pieces of legislation aimed at improving safety of the state’s water supply.

The Urban Flooding Awareness Act creates a working group of representatives from local, state and federal agencies to recommend ways to control urban flooding. Another bill requires community water supply systems to designate an operator who will be directly responsible for each system’s supply and distribution.

And the third bill allows law enforcement agencies to collect pharmaceuticals and other controlled substances from residents for safe disposal.