What You Can Do to Reduce Your Part of the Gulf Dead Zone: LWV Upper Mississippi River Task Force Update
The Dead Zone is the area expanding from the discharges of the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico where water oxygen levels are absent or so low that fish and aquatic life must leave the area or die. The area is larger than the state of New Jersey. Much of the Dead Zone is the result of nutrient pollution caused by high levels of common fertilizers like nitrogen and phosphorus.
An excellent series of articles researching this issue is listed at the recent LWV UMR blog https://www.lwvumrr.org/blog/frustrations-lack-of-progress-environmental-groups-are-maddened-but-epa-is-pleased
More information about the LWV Upper Mississippi River Task Force is at https://www.lwvumrr.org/ and a full listing of their blog posts is at https://www.lwvumrr.org/blog
Lack of progress in reducing the size of the Dead Zone is noted. Goals set in 2008 have not been reached and the Dead Zone continues to increase in size.
Voluntary compliance for nutrient pollution reaching the Gulf is contrasted to the mandates set by the U.S. EPA for clean-up of nutrient pollution in Chesapeake Bay, which did make significant reductions of the problem in the targeted time-frame.
You can reduce your part of the Dead Zone by buying locally grown organic produce, meat and eggs from small farms and by buying phosphate free dish detergents and soaps and purchasing only phosphorous free yard products. Find out what your lawn service uses and insist on phosphorous free lawn care.
The Peoria LWV is a member of the LWV UMR. Peoria Board members Elaine Hopkins and Joyce Blumenshine attended their pre-conference session held last summer in Chicago at the National LWV Convention. Additional background on nutrient pollution and tips for what you can do are at https://www.sierraclub.org/illinois/our-work/water/nutrients
LWVGP is a member of the UMR ILO
League of Women Voters of Greater Peoria, IL
LWVGP studied ownership of the water distribution system beginning in early 2016 and determined its position in 2017.
Water is a necessary resource for human life, not a commodity. The most important attributes of a water utility are: transparency; local control of rates and quality among other issues; local governance which is co-located with the water supply and service area; public oversight; high quality service; competitive rates.
The LWVGP believes financial analysis of public ownership of a water utility is warranted.
Consensus Questions for Potential Public Ownership of a Water Company Study by LWV Greater Peoria 2016-17
Will public ownership of a water company benefit the people of Central Illinois?
1. Water is a necessary resource for human life. agree disagree
2. The League believes the following water company attributes are important to a high-quality water system:
2015/2016 REDISTRICTING REFORM/FAIR MAP AMENDMENT UPDATES
LWVGP is heavily involved in the efforts to get the Redistricting Amendment on the Nov. 2016 ballot.Our president, Cheryl Budzinski, highly recommends this web site.
League of Women Voters of Greater Peoria is a member of Central Illinois Healthy Community Alliance which is dedicated to clean air and water in our area and which is supported by LWVUS positions. This is a message from CIHCA:
Throughout its half century of operations, the E.D. Edwards plant has stored large amounts of coal ash dangerously close to the Illinois River. The accumulated toxic coal ash, containing toxins like arsenic, mercury, lead, currently sits in an 89-acre, 32-foot deep unlined pond near the plant and has caused documented groundwater contamination around the site. This legacy of pollution has left the Illinois River "impaired" for mercury, leading the state of Illinois to post fish consumption warnings.
The 2014 regionally focused feasibility study is a collaborative effort enabled by Peoria County sharing a partial EPA grant with the units of government in Peoria and Tazewell Counties. 13 jurisdictions participated and shared their costs with matching funds. (Note that Morton already has a stormwater utility fee and so didn't participate.) The participating units of local government include: City of Peoria, City of East Peoria, City of West Peoria, City of Pekin, Village of North Pekin, Village of South Pekin, Village of Bartonville, Peoria County, Limestone Township, Cincinnati Township, Hollis Township, Washington Township and Morton Township.
http://www.lwvlmr.org/useful-resources-for-all.html This is a link to the Stormwater Education Project including resources that have general interest about flooding, local surface waters and watersheds, and green infrastructure.
I was fortunate to be the delegate from the LWV of Greater Peoria at the national League Convention in Dallas June 5 - 10, 2014. The convention was packed full of learning, sharing, and LWV business. The schedule for caucus, training, and plenary sessions started early at 7:30 am and ended at 10 pm. There were 637 delegates from 47 states, and those delegates were engaged and productive!What impressed me the most was the focused energy of both plans and successes to stop voter suppression throughout the country. Regardless of whether the voter suppression was man-made (campaign contributions overshadowing votes), a force of nature (Hurricane Sandy), or just plain outrageous (Texas Secretary of State sent letters to 80,000 people telling them they were deceased and off the voters rolls), League members have been, and will be there, to fight for the right and access to vote. Who else in this country is going to be vigilant, and take action, to make sure voters get registered and get to the ballot boxes to cast their votes?
There was a lot of discussion about the urgency to fix campaign finance and to use program to drive less than robust membership numbers. The PMP (Per Member Payment) to LWVUS was frozen at $31 for 2014-15 and increased one dollar for the next year, with delegates knowing that money is needed to fund program support and action, including legal action.
Existing program positions were retained and there were additions for a concurrence on human trafficking and a new, enthusiastically supported three-part program focusing on key structures of American democracy, including campaign finance reform, the constitutional amendment process, and redistricting reform for the U.S. Congress.
We were also reminded of the substantial amount of training materials and resources available through the LWVUS web site. Arriving back home I checked out that site and was amazed at what was found (on first page click on upper left hand corner on MEMBERS) on issues and every activity associated with the League....what a treasure trove.
Thank you to our League Board for selecting me as our delegate, allowing me to attend and share our successes and come back with ideas and resources to keep making democracy work.
LWVIL Charter School position update: The LWV of Illinois has asked local Leagues to complete a member consensus on possible updates to our Charter Schools position. The Greater Peoria League's Board agreed to participate in this update and we formed a committee. The committee is co-chaired by Hedy Elliott and Jan Deissler.
The LWVIL (state) committee worked for 9 months figuring out the questions that will be discussed by local Leagues. The questions surround 3 issues: transparency, accountability, and finances.
Our committee may include League members and interested community members. They study the background information suggested by the state committee, hold panel discussions, community discussion meetings, interview local leaders in the field, publish articles in our newsletter and on the website, and do fact finding. Our League will hold a general membership meeting in December to determine if our members agree or disagree with any of the LWVIL questions. We send our League's response to the state League by Jan 31, 2015.
The state League's Charter Schools position committee will compile all the local Leagues' responses. The committee will decide whether there is strong enough agreement on each question to suggest to the state League Board to make changes to our current Charter Schools position. The LWVIL Board may make changes to the state committee's report and findings. And, then that approved updated position will be sent to delegates who will attend our statewide convention in June. Those delegates will vote on the update at the June 2015 LWVIL Convention in Chicago.
The updated position is included in our LWVIL positions for local Leagues to use for possible local action. If the LWVIL Board prioritizes this item in their budget and work plan for 2015-16 at the convention, considerable effort could be used to push the issue within the state legislature.
Our committee has completed interviews. We will have articles in our newsletter in Oct, Nov, and Dec. We encourage member and public participation at our meetings:
Click here to see the Sept 2014 summary of the interviews.
In 2001 the Illinois State LWV published its position on Charter Schools. To read the 2001 position, click here.
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