February 5, 2009

Quinn Begins New Era At IDNR

Statement of Jack Darin, Director, Sierra Club, Illinois Chapter

Sierra Club applauds Illinois Governor Pat Quinn's early and decisive action today to begin to rebuild the Illinois Department of Natural Resources by appointing an outstanding new Director, Marc Miller. Everyone who loves the Illinois outdoors can take heart today that Gov. Quinn recognizes the critical importance of the work done by DNR, and will work to restore the former strength of the Department.

Governor Quinn's appointment of Marc Miller to head the Illinois Department of Natural Resources is very strong first step to rebuilding Illinois' ability to protect Illinois' wildlife, water, and special places, and to offer high quality outdoor recreation experiences to Illinois residents and visitors. The IDNR has suffered greatly from budget cuts, layoffs, loss of talented career staff, political hiring and firing, and low staff morale.

Marc Miller is just the man for the big job of restoring the IDNR's integrity and ability to protect Illinois' great outdoors. Miller is a natural resource professional, an avid Illinois outdoorsman, and he has dedicated his career to protecting Illinois' rivers, lakes, streams, and other special places for current and future generations. He can unite the many constituents of the IDNR - hunters, hikers, anglers, birdwatchers and all of us who hope to pass on Illinois' natural heritage to future generations - to advocate for for adequate funding for the Department in these very troubled financial times.

By making the IDNR Director his first Agency appointment, in his first week as Governor, Quinn is sending a powerful signal that the mission of the DNR to protect our natural resources is critical to our well-being and our economy. Especially in the state's current fiscal crisis, we know that rebuilding the IDNR will take time, but today Pat Quinn made clear it is a priority. ĘSierra Club is ready to work with Gov. Quinn, Director Miller, and all of IDNR's diverse constituencies to restore the IDNR's capacity to protect Illinois' special places, safeguard our water supplies, and provide safe, quality outdoor recreation opportunities.