IDNR issues first fracking permit in Illinois

Read the full story in the Southern Illinoisan.

In a historic move, regulators from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Department of Oil and Gas Resource Management on Thursday approved the state’s first fracking permit.

Approval of the permit, issued to Wichita, Kansas based Woolsey Operating Company, comes more than four years after former state governor Pat Quinn signed the Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act into law, opening the way for the controversial oil-drilling practice to begin in the state of Illinois.

Savings Through Efficient Products (STEP)

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, an average building wastes about a third of the energy it purchases. The Savings Through Efficient Products (STEP) self-install program allows public facilities to start saving money and energy right away without any upfront investment, while simultaneously learning about next steps in becoming more energy efficient.

Qualified Illinois public facilities receive both a free facility audit and free energy efficient products to start saving energy.

By Air, Land and Sea: Tackling the Ozone Issue on Lake Michigan’s Shores

Read the full story from U.S. EPA.

Despite controls implemented over the years to lower emissions of air pollutants, Lake Michigan communities near the shoreline still experience elevated ozone levels that exceed federal ozone standards set by the Clean Air Act. Contaminants such as nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds interact with sunlight and hot temperature to form ozone.

To help these communities and other states near bodies of water with similar air quality challenges, EPA scientists are collaborating with multiple agencies for the Lake Michigan Ozone Study–a field study aimed at better understanding ozone chemistry and meteorology along the Wisconsin-Illinois Lake Michigan shoreline using a combination of aircraft, ground-based, and ship-based measurements.

House panel approves $300 million for Great Lakes

Read the full story in Great Lakes Echo.

Despite a White House proposal to eliminate $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the House Appropriations Committee voted late Tuesday to fully fund the program through September 2018.

Connecting blighted Great Lakes cities to boost economy

Read the full story in Great Lakes Echo.

The Great Lakes connect many blighted cities in a network that could supply recycled building materials.

Invasive Carp Caught 9 Miles From Great Lakes, In ‘Cause For Serious Concern’

Read the full story from NPR.

A live Asian carp — an invasive fish so threatening to local U.S. ecosystems that officials have struggled to keep it out of the Great Lakes — has been caught nine miles from Lake Michigan, beyond a system of underwater electric barriers.

State of the Great Lakes 2017

The Governments of Canada and the United States are pleased to release the State of the Great Lakes 2017 Highlights Report. Overall, the Great Lakes are assessed as Fair and Unchanging. While progress to restore and protect the Great Lakes has been made, including the reduction of toxic chemicals, challenges remain with issues such as invasive species and nutrients.

Pursuant to the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, Canada and the United States, together with their many partners, established a suite of 9 indicators of ecosystem health, supported by 44 sub-indicators, to assess the state of the Great Lakes. State of the Great Lakes assessments support the identification of current and emerging challenges to Great Lakes water quality and ecosystem health, help Governments evaluate the effectiveness of programs and policies in place to address challenges, and help inform and engage others.

Over 180 government and non-government Great Lakes scientists and other experts worked to assemble available data to populate the suite of indicators and sub-indicators and prepare assessment reports.

The State of the Great Lakes 2017 Technical Report will be available soon.