Philip Sholtz

All articles by Philip Sholtz

 

The Empire Strikes Back? Oil Interests Make Push Against Pro-Biofuels Appointments to the USDA

Midwestern agriculture interests were concerned when former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue was appointed to lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Gov. Perdue was the first Southerner to be appointed to head the USDA since 1994. The majority of the recent U.S. agriculture secretaries have come from the Midwest, including former Nebraska Gov. Mike Johanns and former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack. The Midwest has been able to rely on the USDA to help support its interests in biofuels, an increasingly important
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Scrapping the Scrubbers — Illinois EPA Proposes Wholesale Changes to the Pollution Limits for Coal Plants

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has announced new rule proposals for sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from coal plants. The proposed amendments to the state’s Multi-Pollutant Strategy would limit sulfur dioxide emissions to 55,000 tons per year and limit nitrogen oxide emissions to 25,000 tons per year. The Multi-Pollutant Standard, or “MPS,” was originally negotiated between power companies and Illinois in 2006. Under the MPS, the power companies agreed to install pollution control equipment for sulfur dioxide, mercury and
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Hurricane Irma Presents Different Challenges than Hurricane Harvey in the Wake of Recovery

While the recovery efforts are still unfolding, scientists and environmental experts believe the environmental toll from Hurricane Irma in Florida may not be as harsh as the problems caused by Hurricane Harvey in Texas. The two storms have resulted in hazards that are very different, leading to varied responses to the destruction left by both storms. Wind damage is the primary concern after Hurricane Irma, rather than the widespread flooding seen after Hurricane Harvey. In addition, the areas of Florida
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Grapes of Wrath: California State Agency Acts to Further Restrict Use of Chlorpyrifos

On August 18, 2017, California’s Department of Pesticide Regulations (DPR) released an updated draft risk assessment for comments by the public on the popular agricultural pesticide chlorpyrifos. Farmers use chlorpyrifos to kill pests that attack a wide variety of crops including grapes, walnuts, oranges, almonds and cotton grown in California. In 2015, California farmers used more than 1 million pounds of chlorpyrifos on more than 60 crops. About 5 million to 10 million pounds of chlorpyrifos are used annually on
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Illinois Digs Nuclear? Federal Court Upholds Illinois State Subsidies to Nuclear Power Plants

The State of Illinois recently passed the Future Energy Jobs Act and created a “zero emission credit” program to subsidize nuclear power generation and corresponding sales of nuclear power in the energy market. The statute grants zero emission credits to certain qualifying energy-generating facilities, specifically, several nuclear power plants owned by Exelon in Illinois. Utilities that sell electricity to consumers must purchase zero emission credits from the qualifying power plants, and those utilities then pass the costs of the zero
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Di-can’t-a? Three Midwestern States Act to Limit the Use of Dicamba

On July 14, 2017, Tennessee joined Arkansas and Missouri in limiting the use of dicamba. Dicamba is an herbicide used to combat broadleaf weeds that have developed resistance to glyphosate and other herbicides. The use of dicamba has increased significantly since the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the use of dicamba on soybeans and cotton that are genetically modified to tolerate the chemical. Older formulations of dicamba had been reported to drift after application and affect other crops
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Slow the Flow? U.S. District Court orders Army Corps of Engineers to Reconsider Environmental Analysis of the Dakota Access Pipeline

The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is a pipeline built by Energy Transfer Partners to move oil from western North Dakota to Illinois, where it can be shipped to the Gulf Coast and points beyond. The Army Corps of Engineers approved the completion of the DAPL on February 8, 2017. The DAPL began operating June 1, 2017 and has the capacity to move half of North Dakota’s daily oil production. In the summer of 2016, the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River
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Where There’s Fire, There’s Not Always Smoke. EPA Finds No Radioactive Contamination at Homes Near Suburban St. Louis Landfill

The Environmental Protection Agency declared a landfill near St. Louis, Missouri containing Manhattan Project waste has not contaminated nearby homes with radioactive materials. Approximately 40 years ago, waste materials from the Manhattan Project were buried in the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton, a St. Louis suburb. The discovery of an underground fire at the nearby Bridgeton Landfill has led to the lawsuits alleging that radioactive materials could be polluting nearby residential neighborhoods. In November 2016, Robbin and Mike Dailey filed
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Paper Beats Rock? Illinois Legislature Entertaining Dueling Bills on Rock Quarry Water Monitoring

As the clock winds down on the 2017 legislative session, the Illinois legislature is currently debating over two diametrically opposed bills regarding the proper testing to be done on the groundwater surrounding reclaimed rock quarries. Representative Margo McDermed, a Republican, has sponsored legislation that would require groundwater monitoring around quarries that are being used to store construction waste. Under current Illinois Environmental Protection Agency regulations, concrete free of steel reinforcement bars, rock, stone, brick, and asphalt from sites where buildings
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