The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is holding a daylong public hearing in Chicago Wednesday about its proposed Clean Energy Incentive Program. Progress Illinois provides highlights from the morning testimony and an afternoon rally staged by environmental and community advocacy groups.
More than 1,000 environmentalists and Chicago-area residents protested at the BP Refinery in Whiting, Indiana demanding an end to the use of fossil fuels and a transition to the sole use of renewable energy.
“From the toxic waste created by extreme extraction of tar sands destroying indigenous communities in Canada, to toxins created by the BP Whiting refinery producing sacrifice communities in the Greater Chicago area, to the catastrophic effect on our climate, the urgent need for a just transition away from fossil fuels to a 100 percent renewable energy economy is abundantly clear,” said Mariah Urueta, a Food & Water Watch Michigan organizer.
The protesters, joined by more than 70 local and national organizations, walked two miles through area neighborhoods, ending the march in front of the refinery. There, they sat in a circle at the facility’s gates Sunday until 41 of the protesters were arrested by police donning riot gear. Those arrested were released shortly after being charged with misdemeanor criminal trespassing. The protest took place as news broke that April’s temps exceeded global records, which is the seventh consecutive month of such news, sparking analysts to contend that 2016 will likely be the hottest year on record by far.
ComEd and Exelon are proposing a major overhaul of Illinois energy policies under a new plan announced Thursday. Progress Illinois recaps the proposal, which is being met with mixed reaction among interested parties.