Howard A. Learner

Protecting the Midwest Environment: 2018 Results

The November 2018 election results are a stunning rebuke of President Trump as suburban independents, moderate Republicans, and other swing voters backed Democratic US House candidates and Midwest gubernatorial and attorney general candidates

Some races were close (e.g., Wisconsin Governor and Attorney General), but many were not (e.g., Illinois and Michigan Governors and Attorneys General, and US House races).

There was, indeed, a mostly “Blue Wave”  in the Midwest that will better enable the Environmental Law  & Policy Center to play offense to advance sound environmental and clean energy policies in the Midwest states and work with the many Midwest US Representatives soon to be in key leadership positions for energy, environmental, and natural resource issues.

At the same time, ELPC’s top-rate public interest litigation attorneys are providing vital defense against President Trump’s actions to weaken the Environmental Protection Agency, and attempts to revoke or rollback more than 80 environmental regulations designed to protect healthy clean air, safe clean drinking water, and peoples’ right to live in communities without toxic threats. These core environmental values  are basic human rights and civil rights. ELPC is committed to protecting and defending these rights for all people and Midwestern communities.

The best defense is a strong offense! ELPC is strengthening and expanding our team of first-rate litigators, policy advocates, and business professionals. We’re fighting back and playing to win!

While the federal government steps back on climate change actions, ELPC is stepping up to advance climate change solutions in Midwest cities and states. We’re accelerating clean energy development to create a modern energy system that is good for the economy and good for our environment. We’re protecting the Great Lakes, and the Midwest’s wild and natural places.

Please make a generous year-end contribution to support ELPC’s work. If you give by December 31st, your gift will be matched dollar for dollar by an ELPC donor.

Here are some highlights of how ELPC is achieving strong results to protect the Midwest environment:

Victory! ELPC Wins Precedential Federal Court Decision Against Trump EPA. Must Reduce Agricultural Pollution Runoff Causing Toxic Algae Blooms in Western Lake Erie: ELPC’s strategic litigation achieved this important victory requiring the US EPA and Ohio EPA to limit agricultural phosphorus runoff from manure and fertilizers into the Maumee River watershed where it leads to harmful algae blooms that impair safe clean drinking water for Toledo, fisheries, and recreation in western Lake Erie. ELPC’s litigation team is now working to implement enforceable Clean Water Act standards to drive solutions to reduce manure and fertilizer runoff into waterways. Harmful algae blooms are a problem in several Great Lakes’ shallow bays. ELPC is leading this cleanup campaign.

Progress! Accelerating Solar Energy + Storage Solutions for All: ELPC is leading the charge for the Midwest’s clean energy market transformation by advancing policy solutions that open paths for clean technology innovations. This is good for job creation, good for economic growth, and great for the environment. After working successfully to gain legislation modernizing the Illinois Renewable Energy Standard, ELPC is now working with our coalition partners before the Illinois Commerce Commission and Illinois Power Agency to implement the law to achieve 3,000 megawatts of new solar energy projects and 1,300 megawatts of additional wind power. It’s working, and solar energy development is accelerating in Illinois. ELPC is expanding our “innovate and replicate” Solar for All model to more Midwest states in 2019.

Clean Electric School Buses for Healthier Kids and Less Pollution: ELPC leads the campaign to increase electric school buses that pollute less, especially if powered by clean renewable energy so we’re not just “trading carbon for carbon.” Children riding diesel-powered school buses are trapped into breathing harmful pollution, which can trigger respiratory illnesses, including asthma. ELPC has led advocacy efforts for Midwest states to leverage VW settlement funds for electric school buses, and, so far, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio have together committed $20 million. Our goal is an electrified school bus fleet charged by renewables. In addition to the direct clean air and health benefits, EV school buses can potentially enhance the grid on hot summer days when children aren’t in school and buses can act as storage. That can avoid pollution by reducing the need to run coal and gas peaker plants.

Protecting the Midwest’s Special Places: ELPC’s top-rate team of public interest litigation attorneys is hard at work in the courts and public agencies working to protect the Midwest’s most special places, including the Driftless Area (WI), Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie (IL), Mississippi River Headwaters (MN), and the Great Lakes.

As we celebrate ELPC’s 25th Anniversary, thank you for supporting ELPC’s effective strategic legal and policy advocacy to achieve both environmental progress and economic growth together in the Midwest. Please donate today and double your impact!

Our best wishes for a healthy and happy new year.

Howard A. Learner,

Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director

Howard Learner is an experienced attorney serving as the President and Executive Director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center. He is responsible for ELPC’s overall strategic leadership, policy direction, and financial platform.

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