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The DOJ delivers the Comey memos to Congress. Also on our rundown: More evidence that rent prices are out of reach in many markets; Wisconsin counties brace for sulfide mining; and the Earth Day focus this weekend in North Dakota is on recycling.

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Moms, Conservationists say Senate Failing at Protecting Illinoisans' Health

PHOTO: Conservation and environmental groups are highlighting what they say is the destructive work of the Republican-led Congress' first 100 days under the leadership of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Photo credit: Laszlo Ilyes/Flickr.
PHOTO: Conservation and environmental groups are highlighting what they say is the destructive work of the Republican-led Congress' first 100 days under the leadership of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Photo credit: Laszlo Ilyes/Flickr.
April 21, 2015

CHICAGO - The Republican-led Senate has earned a failing grade from conservation and environmental groups for their first 100 days.

Gretchen Dahlkemper is the National Field Manager with Moms Clean Air Force, one of several organizations tallying a report of the damage done under Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

She says lawmakers have earned a failing grade on policies that protect public health and the environment, including policies that would curb the carbon pollution that fuels climate change.

We've seen Senator McConnell lead this effort to undermine health protections for America's children," says Dahlkemper, "but we know there are solutions at hand like energy efficiency and renewables."

Congressional Republicans say they are trying to promote growth by easing regulations. Critics have charged what they're really doing is helping corporations that give campaign donations.

Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters, says the EPA is trying to protect public health and enforce clean air and clean water regulations – but he says McConnell and Senate Republicans are trying to block them despite overwhelming public support.

"Sadly, the polluters and some of their allies in Congress are trying to block EPA from doing its job," he says. "But the public understands the EPA has a job to do, and they back the EPA in protecting our air and water."

Karpinski says with Wednesday marking the 45th anniversary of Earth Day, it's important to reflect on the progress made protecting the environment.

"The Clean Water Act has been one of the best success stories we've seen in the last 40 years to reduce pollution in our water," he says. "The Clean Air Act has also been an incredible success to protect us from damaging air pollutants. But with the challenge of climate change in front of us, we have more progress to make."

April 15 marked the 100th day of the 114th Congress.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IL