The Stream
Events, Alerts and News in the W&W Territory

Membership Meeting: King Corn    Want to celebrate getting your taxes done? Ever wonder where your tax money goes? Celebrate and satisfy your curiosity on Tax Day - April 15 - as Sierra Club presents a special screening of KING CORN! Read more ...
Citizen Activists Send Incinerator Plan Up In Smoke!    Citizen activists do make a difference! Read more ...
Water Sentinels Training    Sign Up! Saturday, May 1, 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Read more ...
Illinois Environmental Legislation    Focus your Illinois legislators' attention on important environmental bills. Read more ...
Electric Cars    Postponed. Read more ...
Join the Discussion    Read more ...
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A 90 minute feature documentary from Mosaic Films

Thursday, April 15th, 6:45 p.m.
Vernon Area Library, Lincolnshire

Engrossing and eye-opening, KING CORN is a fun and crusading journey into the digestive tract of our fast food nation where one ultra-industrial, pesticide-laden, heavily-subsidized commodity dominates the food pyramid from top to bottom - corn. Fueled by curiosity and a dash of naiveté, college buddies Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis return to their ancestral home of Greene, Iowa to figure out how a modest kernel conquered America.

Join us at the Vernon Area Library located at 300 Olde Half Day Road in Lincolnshire, IL at 6:45! Don't miss it!

Rep. Eddie Washington

Citizen Activists Send Incinerator Plan Up In Smoke!

Citizen activists do make a difference! Sierra Club activist members Jeff Maras and Chris Pado, along with several members of Incinerator Free Lake County – including new Sierra Club activist Barbara Klipp – lobbied the Lake County Public Works and Transportation committee extensively to keep thermal technologies (read “incineration”) off the Lake County Waste Management Plan.

Arrayed against the activist team were industry interests and several members of the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County (SWALCO) Board who supported plans to burn waste by building incinerators and incinerators-in-disguise in Lake County.

With your help, the citizen activist lobbying effort was successful! The committee voted to remove the word "thermal" from "alternative technologies" being considered in the 2009 - 2014 Solid Waste Plan. This effectively eliminates all forms of expensive and risky incineration from the plan, and the threat it posed to our future air quality. It went by a number of misleading names, including "Waste to Energy," "Alterative Technologies," or even "Renewable Energy." These incinerators generate a small quantity of electricity as they incinerate our garbage. They generate more CO2 than a coal electric plant with less electricity produced. They still put toxic chemicals into the air and the highly toxic ash that remains is put into a hole in the ground.

We support the waste management strategies that remain in the plan, including composting, anaerobic digestion, recycling transfer stations, and enhanced diversion rates ("diversion rate" is wastespeak for "recycling"). The plan now also includes formation of a Waste Diversion Task Force that is charged with developing strategies to double Lake County’s recycling rate from 30% to 60%.

Please send your special thanks to Board Member Pat Carey who worked hard to inform the committee and other Board members prior to the vote. Please also thank other Board and committee members who fought to move Lake County toward a sustainable future. They include:

  • Ann Maine who made the motion to remove the word "thermal",

  • Melinda Bush who seconded it and

  • Terry Wilke, Bonnie Thompson Carter, and Diana O'Kelly, who all voted in favor of removing thermal technologies.

  • Other Board members who spoke out for sustainability were Anne Bassi and Carol Calabresa.

  • The only two committee members who voted to include "thermal technologies" were David Stolman and Craig Taylor.

Now we begin our work on the recycling task force to be a part of moving Lake County toward a more sustainable and progressive path, with greater diversion and composting rates and more economic development. As a county, we continue to generate truly vast quantities of waste, and we are running out of places to put it. Waste Management has been filling up its landfills in Lake County, at times bringing in more than 60% of the waste stream from outside of the county. This is projected to fill up in our landfills in the next decade or so unless we change course. Instead of heaping it up in landfills, or burning it, we need to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle it. The group Incinerator Free Lake County hired recycling expert Neil Seldman, who showed how cities like San Francisco and Toronto achieve rates in the 60% range. Nantucket has achieved a 95% rate. Jeff Maras comments, "We’re fairly bright people and this is something we can do. I do see two major obstacles that will prevent this from occurring unless changed.

a) The SWALCO organization is paid on a percentage of tipping fees. The more garbage generated and dumped or burned, the more money the organization receives. Increasing our recycling will lower their income. Putting your organization out of business is not a great motivator to change how you do something. If the Public Works Committee does indeed want to seriously change our low recycling rates, they need to pay SWALCO more to recycle, not less.

b) The head of SWALCO, Walter Willis, doesn’t believe he can raise the recycling rate. As long as he believes this is true the recycling rate will remain about 30%. Unless Mr. Willis has a sudden epiphany we will remain a distant second to progressive cities like Toronto and San Francisco.

Please congratulate your County Board member for removing incineration from the Solid Waste Disposal Plan and ask them to help double our recycling rate.

Clickable County Board Map:


Click where you live on this map to initiate an e-mail to your Lake County Board member. If the map doesn't show up in this e-mail, go to or, click here for the county Board website page that let's you find out who your Lake County Board Member is based on your address.  1 - Linda Pedersen 2 - Diane Hewitt 3 - Suzi Schmidt 4 - Brent Paxton 5 - Bonnie Thomson Carter 6 - Melinda Bush 7 - Steve Carlson 8 - Collin O'Rourke 9 - Mary Ross Cunningham 10 - Diana OKelly 11 - Pat Carey 12 - Angelo Kyle 13 - Susan Loving Gravenhorst 14 - Audrey Nixon 15 - Carol Calabresa 16 - Terry Wilke 17 - Stevenson Mountsier 18 - Aaron Lawlor 19 - Craig Taylor 20 - David Stolman 21 - Ann Maine 22 - Michelle Feldman 23 - Anne Flanigan Bassi

Jeff, Chris, and Barbara want to thank all the Sierra Club members who sent e-mails and made phone calls in support of keeping Lake County incinerator free. Jeff writes, "This has been a fascinating experience for me. I am new to activism and am still a little shell shocked that we were able to stop these incinerators. No one person caused the change, however I can point to many individual efforts that made the difference. I again thank the Sierra Club members that made that phone call or sent that e-mail to our Committee members. You were a big part of the Victory." Please keep up the pressure and step up in support of a more sustainable Lake County by actively supporting greater recycling, composting, and waste diversion efforts.

Watch The STREAM for further information on how you can help in the efforts to increase our diversion rates! Citizen activists do make a difference!

Water Sentinels Training

Sign Up!

Saturday, May 1, 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Rain or shine
Warren Township High School
Almond Road Campus
34090 N Almond Rd, 60031

You can help improve the health of our local streams just by measuring the quality of their waters. Chronic funding cuts have left our Illinois Environmental Protection Agency too understaffed to monitor and protect the quality of our streams, as required by the Clean Water Act. They need our help.

We are offering a free training event this spring, taught by the IL Chapter Water Sentinels Staff. You will learn how to use simple test kits to measure the presence of pollutants in our streams, and how to judge water conditions by the presence of critters that live in the water (bentho-macro-invertebrates). Recording this data can help us use the Clean Water Act to clean up our streams.

As a trained Water Sentinel, you will have fun getting to know your local stream up-close, ideally with another Sentinel who lives nearby.

This training will be offered at Gurnee High School, and will include classroom instruction and a field trip to a local stream. It will take about five hours. Sandwiches and refreshments will be provided.

Sign up for this event. Go to

Rep. Eddie Washington

Illinois Environmental Legislation

Every year Sierra Club volunteers visit our Illinois legislators to focus their attention on a number of important environmental bills. The last several years have had a number of successes in getting environmental legislation passed. Most of the bills still have not passed the Senate and House. The legislation this year is :

  • SB3388 / HB4875. “No New Nukes”. Fact Sheet / Take Action Now  We oppose this bill to lift the moratorium on new nuclear energy plants. This has already passed the Senate. Representatives Osmond and Washington in the W&W district are co-sponsors. Contact Osmond and Washington in opposition to this bill.
  • HB6099. “Green Lawns, Clean Water”. Fact Sheet Eliminates the application of phosphorus by professional lawn care companies. This has passed the House. Sent to the Senate for approval.
  • SB3750 / HB6088. “BPA-Free Kids Act”. Fact Sheet / Take Action Now. Protects children’s health by eliminating Bisphenol-A (BPA) from children’s food packaging. Has not passed either the House or the Senate.
  • SB2505, 3686, 1503 / HB 6013, 6202, 5429. “Renew Illinois”. Fact Sheet / Take Action Now. Rebuild our economy with new energy work - a series of bills designed to promote green jobs while removing obstacles to the green energy economy. Includes better net metering program, interim benchmarks for solar production, homeowner access to low interest loans through a voluntary tax assessment, and ensures a homeowner’s right to install renewable energy systems. HB 6202 and 5429 have passed the House. No bills have passed the Senate yet.

To get more information on the bills, whether your legislator has cosponsored them, and how they vote, go to Illinois Legislative Tracker. There are links above to contact your legislators to support our legislative initiatives.

Electric Cars

This event has been postponed. It had been planned for:
Wednesday, May 26, 2010, 6:45pm
It will be rescheduled when more manufacturers have released electric cars.
Stay tuned.

Contact Jeff Maras to help out.

Join the Discussion

The Activist Network

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