Protecting Mississippi River Key Focus of IL Fund
Friday, May 28, 2021
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - A bipartisan effort to extend a conservation fund in Illinois continues ahead of next week's budget deadline. Supporters in the Legislature say residents across the state should realize the bill's environmental benefits, including water quality.
At stake is funding for a 20-year-old program now known as the Partners for Conservation Fund, which supports better land-management practices, including in agriculture. Rep. Tim Butler - R-Springfield - said that from urban areas to rural communities, the program is key to protecting natural resources.
"Especially in a state like Illinois," said Butler, "where we have issues with nutrient loading into the Mississippi River basin."
He said that affects states downstream as well.
The program is scheduled to sunset July 1. Butler has co-sponsored a bill to extend it, and direct more money to reducing nutrient pollution.
While lawmakers have a lot on their plates in the face of a deficit, Butler said he's confident the plan will be considered as the budget comes together.
Rep. Dave Vella - D-Loves Park - chief sponsor of the House version, said he's cautiously optimistic about its chances. He said he feels it's an opportunity to help communities around the state improve the quality of their lakes and rivers.
"There's a lot of farm runoff," said Vella. "We have some big cities, there's a lot of big-city runoff. And you know, someone down in Metropolis could see the results of something bad that happened up in Rockford. So, I want to make sure that we're all together on this."
Vella echoed concerns from environmental and conservation groups, who note Illinois is behind in reaching the goals of its Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy from 2015. The lawmakers say if the plan isn't part of the budget, they could appeal to the governor's office for executive action.
get more stories like this via email
BOISE, Idaho -- Wildfires are affecting air quality across the West, bringing hidden dangers in smoke that can harm people's health. The Boise-based …
DENVER -- The days of exponentially high increases in health-insurance costs may finally be in the rearview mirror. The Colorado Division of …
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Cultural institutions in the U.S. are facing scrutiny to be more accessible and inclusive. The organization in charge of Iowa's …
BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- Last month's deadly heat wave in the Northwest underscored the need to reduce carbon emissions, but advocates want to ensure low-…
MINOT, N.D. -- Many arguments are being floated about legislation before Congress that would bring big changes to U.S. labor laws. The bill has its …
Health and Wellness
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Health-care advocates called on Missouri lawmakers to allocate funds for Medicaid expansion right away, after the state …
AUGUSTA, Maine -- School meals in Maine will be free for all students again this year and into the future, but parents are being urged to fill out …
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A report outlines how federal efforts to bring solar energy to one in four American households could bring clean energy to …