May nabs top award for environmental
Highland Park News
Four Lake County legislators serving in Springfield received
100 percent performance rankings by the Illinois Environmental
Council for their work during the spring session at the
Environmental Leadership Dinner Oct. 30.
In addition, State Rep. Karen S. May, D-58, of Highland
Park, was given the Environmental Leadership Award for
her work on wetland preservation. Attorney General Lisa
Madigan and George Rabb, director of the Brookfield Zoo
and President of the Chicago Zoological Society, also
were given Environmental Leadership Awards.
County-based legislators receiving recognition included
May, Sen. Susan Garrett, D-29, of Lake Forest, Sen. Terry
Link, D-30, of Lake Bluff, and Rep. Kathleen Ryg, D-59,
of Vernon Hills.
According to Jonathan Goldman, executive director of
the council, the 21 legislators with 100 percent voting
records supporting environmental issues are the largest
such group in recent years.
The awards were presented at a reception and dinner with
Madigan serving as the keynote speaker.
Garrett said Madigan spoke about the measures her office
has taken to counteract the erosion of environmental protection
under policies of the George W. Bush administration in
May received her award for leadership on measures to
protect the environment, especially Illinois wetlands.
The Council's award recognizes work to reduce air pollution,
protect open space, encourage recycling, and protections
from mercury, lead and pesticides.
"Protecting our environment is one of my top priorities
as it directly affects our quality of life," May
said in a written statement.
She received special recognition for her Wetlands Protection
Act, a bill to reinstate protection for isolated wetlands
that was lost under a Supreme Court decision. The decision
placed an estimated 152,000 acres at risk of unregulated
dredging, draining and excavating.
The bill directs the Illinois Department of Natural Resources
to regulate wetlands through a permit system along with
the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. The bill
is awaiting Senate action.
"I am confident that this measure will reach the
Governor's desk and be signed into law," May said.
Garrett said the evening was recognition for a group
of legislators who work hard to protect the environment.
Her own political career, she said, is based on concern
for the environment.
"I got into politics because of an environmental
issue, so I am very aware of how hard it can be to pass
legislation protecting the environment," she said.
The Council monitors votes by legislators because the
State of Illinois Constitution charges each resident to
maintain a healthy environment for present and future
generations. The scorecard allows voters to evaluate how
their legislators respond to this public policy requirement.
The IEC promotes environmental laws and policies, serves
as a forum, manages a statewide network of activists,
and conducts legislative advocacy in Springfield.
"They worked with me on the Clean Water Trust Fund,"
said Garrett. "They are a very well respected group
in the state."
She said they also are a good resource for information
and on-the-record testimony about the environment.
The Clean Water Trust Fund has raised money to fund research
about the source of E. coli bacteria in Lake Michigan
water. High levels force beaches to close because of the
health impact. Garrett has assembled a coalition of local,
state, county and national groups to investigate the problem.