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

Vote for W&W Leaders   Show your support for your local Sierra Club Group. Read more ...
2013 Legislation   How Did Our Legislators Vote? Read more ...
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Vote for W&W Leaders

Your W&W Executive Committee consists of seven members who volunteer to lead our local Group. We personify the grassroots spirit, constantly looking for ways to welcome new volunteers while maximizing our own impact with the limited time we have. In 2013 we adopted three goals for the Group, and put into practice the lessons we learned from national-led leadership training. This kept us jumping to challenge the Midwest Generation coal power plant in Waukegan (with the help of an organizer from the Club's Beyond Coal campaign!), get Lake County to create a Sustainability Director position, and welcome some college students into our ranks. We rewarded ourselves with fun hikes in local Forest Preserves, and invited you to join us. We're really excited about sustainability, and we're helping shine a light in that direction locally and nationally.

Every year about half of the seven seats on the ExCom are open for challengers and those of us who seek reelection. This year we have just enough candidates to fill the contested seats, so we haven't prioritized asking you to elect us. Now we hope you'll vote for us to let us know you support our work. But we'd rather have you join us and claim a seat on our ExCom, or lead one of the committees that we need to make our Woods & Wetlands Group even more effective.

The following candidates been nominated to serve two-year terms beginning in 2014:
  • Evan Craig has served as a Sierra Club volunteer leader since 1996, including over ten years as chair of the W&W Group, and four years as an elected IL Chapter Executive Committee member. Besides generating the Group agendas and recommending its committee chair appointments, he serves as the Group's primary spokesperson, maintains its website and e-mail lists, helps on the Conservation, Lobby and Political Committees, and leads hikes.
  • George Etu has been active the Club for the last 25 years and at present he is W&W's Governance Advisor and the Group Representative to the Illinois Chapter, where he is a member of two Chapter committees. Some conservation issues he has worked on: Fort Sheridan (about 200 acres were transferred, at no cost, to the Lake County Forest Preserve) and Route 53 (the ongoing struggle against the extension of highway Route 53 north of Lake-Cook Road). George would like to continue to work on the W&W Executive Committee as there is still much to be done. He can be emailed at or at
  • Jeff Maras has served as both vice-chair and chairman on the committee and is looking to serve his fourth term. He writes: It has been an honor to work with the Club, influence Lake Countyís environmental platform and move the county towards a more sustainable future. My background in Biochemistry provides the understanding of the science behind the environmental issues we currently face. With this knowledge, I am able to educate and positively influence the leaders in our county. Also, my long term interest in sustainable and renewable energy strongly supports the initiatives of phasing out fossil fuels.  During my tenure on the committee, I have tried to promote social outreach in order to get more of our members involved. I have sponsored a number of events that I hope have familiarized our members with what we do at the leadership level. I have also served on the Lobby and Political Committees to encourage our elected officials to embrace legislation that supports the environment and sustainability. I intend to continue to influence a more environmentally responsible county.
  • Mike Wagner is a lifetime resident of Lake County and a dedicated and passionate conservation advocate, especially regarding but not limited to the Great Lakes. He writes: I am serving an appointment to the Executive Committee for a partial term to replace another member who chose to resign. I would love to be considered as a candidate for election for the upcoming term. I previously served on the Executive Committee from 2004-2008 besides the past year and a half. In addition I have held the post of Conservation Chairman since 2007, member of the IL Chapter Great Lakes committee, co-chair of the local Arctic committee and currently on the Clean Power Lake County campaign. During my terms our group has expanded our exposure at green events such as the Green Living Fair and we opened our both at the Lake County Fair. A major coup of our Conservation Group was we set a goal to establish a position of Sustainability Director on the Lake County Board and we achieved the goal this year. I have a degree in non-profit management from Duke University and over 30 years of management experience. The sum total of all these items I hope is enough to convince you all to vote for me to continue as a member of the Executive Committee of Woods and Wetlands.
To vote just use this easy on-line BALLOT.


How Did Our Legislators Vote?

Every year Sierra Club volunteers visit our Illinois legislators to focus their attention on a number of important environmental bills. First our IL Chapter Conservation Committee and staff adopt priorities. Then we use the information prepared by our Club staff to explain the importance of our bills, and ask them to support them. Over the last several years our legislators have helped pass several environmental bills, and they are now law. Besides voting for these bills, the most important action we ask our legislators to take is to sign onto our bills as cosponsors. This helps bring the bills to the floor and to influence other legislators to vote for them. Thanks to a high level of support from our Woods and Wetlands legislators again this year, a number of the bills we supported passed.
HB2753 Lake Michigan Wind Energy Act. Wind power is growing rapidly in Illinois, and itís continued growth is crucial to transitioning away from climate changing fossil fuels. The strength of the wind over Lake Michigan has attracted increasing interest in placing wind turbines there, even though constructing turbines in water and transmitting the electricity back to shore would be costly. While we support wind power, we want to make sure that it is placed and operated in ways that minimize wildlife impacts. This bill requires the Department of Natural Resources to develop a plan for siting off-shore wind projects on Lake Michigan. The plan must consider impacts to wildlife, transportation and environmental factors. This bill has passed. Our Lake County sponsors for this bill were Senator Melinda Bush and Representatives Elaine Nekritz, Carol Sente, and Sam Yingling. All of our Legislators voted for this bill except Representative Barbara Wheeler.

HB2623 Green Power Labeling. After Illinois passed a law allowing municipalities to offer it on an opt-out basis, Illinois municipalities began bundling and purchasing electricity for their residents. Itís called aggregation, and we are pleased that many cities are choosing electricity from renewable sources for their residents. The falling cost of renewable energy has resulted in bids for renewable electricity that are nearly the same as for dirty electricity. Residents and cities want to know the power mix offered by energy suppliers, and HB 2623 ensures that cities get the information they request to make the best decision for their residents. When cities have this information their elected leaders usually choose to skip the pollution and select green energy for their residents. This bill has also passed. Our sponsors for this bill were Representatives Elaine Nekritz, Rita Mayfield, Carol Sente, and Sam Yingling. It passed unanimously in the House and Senate.

HB2613/ SB2413 The Illinois Energy Portfolio (RPS) is funded by Illinois customers and was established to create jobs and diversify our power supply through renewable energy development. The RPS is currently not working because it is funded from the electrical supply side and goes into three separate buckets - utility,  municipal aggregators, and self-procured. Municipal aggregation has expanded rapidly which has caused an unpredictable flow of funds into each bucket.  Funding of renewable projects requires long term predictably of funding so renewable energy  projects cannot begin.  The RPS fix moves the funding from the supply side to the delivery side - one fund instead of three - which will allow for the funding of these long term renewable energy projects at no additional cost to the ratepayers. By fully appropriating the Renewable Energy Resources Fund for FY 2014, Illinois can create new opportunities in the growing clean energy economy. Our sponsors for this bill were Representatives Carol Sente and Sam Yingling.  These bills have not made it out of committee for a vote.

HB2864/SB0103 Fix the Renewable Portfolio Standard. Creates a no-cost fix to ratepayers for the Renewable Energy Standard (RPS), which will help ensure that renewable energy development which is responsible for more than 20,000 jobs since 2007 continues. Our bill sponsors are Senators Melinda Bush, Terry Link, and Julie Morrison.  Represenatives sponsoring the bill are Elaine Nekritz, Rita Mayfield, and Carol Sente.  Unfortunately these also have not made it out of committee for a vote.

HB3086/SB1418 Hydraulic Fracturing Ban. Halts hydraulic fracturing operation in Illinois for two years until a task force thorughly reviews existing regulations and evaluates new safeguards. Our Senate sponsor was Melinda Bush and Representative sponsors are Elaine Nekritz, Rita Mayfield, Carol Sente, Scott Drury, and Sam Yingling.  These bills also did not make it out of committee.
SB1715 Safeguarding Fracking. High volume horizontal fracking is legal and able to begin operations in our state. Our existing laws, rules and regualtions are inadequate to protect our environment. While the moratorium was the preferred option, SB 1715 was also supported to extend some important protection to our communities from this polluting industry. Our Senate sponsor was Pamela Althoff.  Representative sponsor was Ed Sullivan, Jr. This bill passed.  All of our Legislators voted for the bill except Scott Drury who was one of the fracking moratorium sponsors.

To get more information on the bills above go to the Illinois Legislative TrackerĽ.

The scene in Washington D.C. is more challenging. Thanks to members who respond to e-mail alerts, and a growing W&W federal lobbying effort, we helped some of our Senators and Representatives stand tall defending our environmental laws. The League of Conservation Voters keeps track, and our legislators turned in scores on 13 votes in the Senate and 28 in the House ranging from defender to destroyer. Read LCV's scorecardĽ for the details. Here are the scores for our two senators: Durbin (100%), Kirk (23%). And here are the scores for our W&W representatives: Schneider (96%), Duckworth (86%), Hultgren (4%) and Roskam (4%). Hultgren is on the Science, Space and Technology Committee and he does not accept the overwhelming science supporting anthropogenic global warming. Roskam is Chief Deputy Whip and on Ways and Means and he tried to keep the EPA from being able to regulate greenhouse gases, voted NO on enforcing CO2 limits, voted NO on renewable energy tax credits, opposed improved safety on old nuclear plants and wants to drill the outer continental shelf. In contrast, Durbin, Schneider and Duckworth demonstrate what voting for sustainability looks like.

Let's keep working to make all of our elected officials environmental champions. 

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