U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) was happy to learn that a proposed plan to create an industrial waste facility at the Clinton Landfill has been scrapped. Specifically, Area Disposal was looking to get rid of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) by placing it above the Mahomet Aquifer.
In 2008 and 2012, Durbin sent letters to the Environmental Protection Agency along with then- Sen. Barack Obama and U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), respectively, expressing concerns about creating an industrial waste site at Clinton Landfill and story PCBs there. As a result of the letters, the EPA ordered a U.S. Geological Survey to look into the potential impact of placing an industrial waste facility at the landfill and study the aquafir.
In March, the EPA designated the Mahomet Aquafir a sole source acquafir, which means it is subject to special protections.
"I was encouraged last month when the EPA gave special protection to a portion of the Mahomet Aquifer - a primary source of drinking water for more than half the population of Central Illinois. I am relieved today by the news that plans to locate a PCB disposal site above the Aquifer have been dropped," Durbin said in a press release. "Protecting this vital water source took a coordinated effort by members of the community. I applaud them for their efforts and was happy to lend my support."
On Thursday, Durbin also joined Kirk and 35 other senators in a bipartisan effort in a call for a strong Renewable Fuel Standard. The group of lawmakers sent the EPA a letter pressing "the agency to reverse course from the 2014 proposed rule and maintain a strong RFS to drive innovation and growth in America's economy while helping reduce our dependence on foreign oil."
"The RFS has already proven to be an effective driver of alternative fuels and economic development," the senators wrote. "It has strengthened agriculture markets and created hundreds of thousands of jobs in the new energy economy, many of which are in rural areas. The biofuels volume requirements for 2014 and beyond have serious implications for our economy and energy security. We encourage you to ensure a final proposal continues to work toward achieving the RFS's long-term economic and renewable energy goals."
Here's more background on the RFS from Durbin's office:
The RFS requires that transportation fuel sold in the United States contain an increasing amount of renewable fuel each year through 2022. While the volume of biofuels that transportation fuel must contain each year has already been set by Congress, the EPA proposed a lower level than Congress intended for 2014. The EPA recently stated it will finalize the biofuels volumes for 2014, 2015, and 2016 by November 30, 2015, but it has not indicated what the volume levels will be. Once the EPA finalizes the required 2014 level, refineries will be able to determine whether they met last year's biofuels requirements or need to purchase additional renewable fuel credits in order to come into compliance. Moving forward, the senators are calling on the EPA to ensure that the RFS continues to drive further adoption of biofuels.
The following senators signed the letter sent to the EPA Thursday: Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Dan Coats (R-IN), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), John Hoeven (R-ND), Ed Markey (D-MA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Patty Murray (D-WA), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Gary Peters (D-MI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jon Tester (D-MT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).