WBEZ | moratorium http://www.wbez.org/tags/moratorium Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Madigan, Mell push for two-year ban on fracking http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-03/madigan-mell-push-two-year-ban-fracking-106109 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS2798_AP080109029993-madigan-scr%20%281%29.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="File: House Speaker Michael Madigan. (AP/File)" />As <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/fracking-bill-introduced-downstate-legislators-105704">legislation to allow and regulate hydraulic fracturing</a>, or &ldquo;fracking,&rdquo; in Illinois&rsquo; New Albany Shale moves through the state legislature, House Speaker Michael Madigan has called for a two-year ban on the controversial fossil fuel extraction process so scientists can study its potential impacts on public health and the environment.</p><p>Rep. Deb Mell&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocTypeID=HB&amp;DocNum=3086&amp;GAID=12&amp;SessionID=85&amp;LegID=74939">HB 3086</a> in the House and <a href="http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocNum=1418&amp;GAID=12&amp;DocTypeID=SB&amp;LegId=72003&amp;SessionID=85">SB 1418</a> (sponsored by Sen. Mattie Hunter) each call for a statewide moratorium on fracking until a task force conducts &ldquo;a thorough review.&quot;</p><p>Fracking blasts loose previously inaccessible stores of gas and oil in rocks deep underground using water, sand and a proprietary mix of chemicals. The process has allowed other states to tap new energy resources, but has sparked widespread pollution concerns.</p><p>So far there is no high-volume fracking in Illinois, but Madigan&rsquo;s proposal pre-empts the expected passage of a regulatory bill that would set up a permitting process and potentially allow drilling in a matter of months.</p><p>Downstate Reps. John Bradley (D-117) and David Reis (R-108) introduced that <a href="http://ilga.gov/legislation/billstatus.asp?DocNum=2615&amp;GAID=12&amp;GA=98&amp;DocTypeID=HB&amp;LegID=74421&amp;SessionID=85">bill, HB2615,</a> which was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/07/illinois-fracking-deal-co_n_2831705.html">called the most stringent nationwide</a> for its <a href="http://www.midwestenergynews.com/2013/02/22/in-illinois-environmentalists-and-industry-compromise-on-fracking-bill/">water monitoring provisions and environmental restrictions</a>.</p><p>According to <a href="http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/98/HB/09800HB2615ham001.htm">an amendment to that bill</a>, anyone applying for a permit must disclose to the government the chemicals and total volume of water in their fracking mix at least three weeks before they start drilling. They can apply to have that information protected as a trade secret, however, in which case it could be revealed only to a health professional who &ldquo;articulates why the information is needed,&rdquo; or to other government agencies in the event of an emergency. In addition, anyone can challenge a company&rsquo;s invocation of trade secret protection.</p><p>The department will also create a website for public information on hydraulic fracturing, including a searchable database with information on well operators, their chemical disclosure information (that hasn&rsquo;t been protected as a trade secret), and violations or complaints.</p><p>Proponents of the bill <a href="http://www.whbf.com/story/21642068/fracking-supporters-announce-well-fees-tax-rates">announced Thursday</a> that industry would be required to pay $13,000 per well, as well as 3 percent per barrel in severance taxes for the first two years of operation, with that figure set to increase over time. Of that money, about 85 percent will go to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources for enforcing hydraulic fracturing regulations. The remainder will go to the state&#39;s Environmental Protection Agency for general pollution complaints.</p><p>But <a href="http://www.environmentillinois.org/news/ile/illinois-groups-praise-speaker-madigan-supporting-fracking-moratorium">environmental groups, who praised Madigan</a> for supporting the moratorium, urge caution. Activists rallied in Springfield this week, <a href="http://signon.org/sign/dont-frack-illinois-we?source=s.em.mt&amp;r_by=2216145">calling</a> for such a ban in light of <a href="http://www.propublica.org/article/natural-gas-drilling-what-we-dont-know-1231">concerns over fracking&#39;s potentially harmful effects</a> on the environment and public health. The federal Environmental Protection Agency&nbsp;is <a href="http://www.epa.gov/hfstudy/">currently studying</a> fracking&rsquo;s impact on drinking water resources. Their report is not due until 2014.</p><p>Industry advocates say even a temporary ban on fracking is an economic loss to the state. A <a href="https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=https%3A%2F%2Fs3.amazonaws.com%2Fs3.documentcloud.org%2Fdocuments%2F539715%2Fillinois-chamber-foundation-new-albany-shale.pdf">report commissioned by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce Foundation</a> projected up to $9.5 billion in economic activity and 47,000 jobs for the state if 90 percent of estimated resources are developed. Besides direct employment in drilling, that report included other industries, including food services, hospitals, real estate and engineering.</p><p>New York&rsquo;s State Assembly <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/07/new-york-state-assembly-fracking_n_2826472.html">voted for a 2-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing last week</a>, but the measure now faces a divided state senate. Governor Andrew Cuomo is awaiting recommendations from the Departments of Health and Environmental Conservation, and has previously supported two similar measures in 2010 and 2011.</p><p>In Illinois, environmental organizations lobbying for the moratorium include The Illinois Coalition For a Moratorium on Fracking (ICMF), S.A.F.E. (Southern Illinoisans Against Fracturing our Environment, CAPOW! (Citizens Act to Protect Our Water), Stop the Frack Attack on Illinois, Rising Tide, RAN Chicago, IPA (Illinois People&rsquo;s Action), the Gray Panthers, the Illinois Sierra Club and Environment Illinois.</p><p><em style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13.63636302947998px; line-height: 21.988636016845703px;">Chris Bentley writes about environmental issues. Follow him on Twitter at&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/Cementley" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; text-decoration: none; color: rgb(0, 104, 150); outline: 0px;" target="_blank">@Cementley</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 15 Mar 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-03/madigan-mell-push-two-year-ban-fracking-106109 India’s singular nuclear history and implications of U.S.-India nuclear energy deal http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-29/india%E2%80%99s-singular-nuclear-history-and-implications-us-india-nuclear-energ <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-July/2011-07-29/India.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>India is a clear outlier in the global nuclear community. Though the South Asian nation possesses nuclear weapons, it refused to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty.</p><p>For decades, signatories of the NPT labeled India an outcast. But power dynamics shifted in 2008, when the U.S. backed away from a decades-long moratorium on nuclear trade with India.</p><p>We speak to <a href="http://www.indiana.edu/%7Ealldrp/members/ganguly.html" target="_blank">Sumit Ganguly</a>, the director of research at Indiana University’s <a href="http://www.indiana.edu/%7Ecags/index.shtml" target="_blank">Center for American and Global Security</a>, about India’s unique role as a nuclear power.</p></p> Fri, 29 Jul 2011 17:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-29/india%E2%80%99s-singular-nuclear-history-and-implications-us-india-nuclear-energ Death penalty officially ends in Illinois http://www.wbez.org/story/death-penalty-officially-ends-illinois-88630 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-01/AP02102802459-prison review board Stephen J. Carrera.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Friday officially marks the end of capital punishment in Illinois.&nbsp;</p><p>A ban that Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law in March took effect at midnight, marking a quiet final chapter in story that propelled Illinois into the center of an international debate just a decade ago.&nbsp;</p><p>In 2000, then-Gov. George Ryan made headlines around the world when he imposed a moratorium on all executions in the state.&nbsp; Ryan's order came after a series of death row inmates were found to be wrongfully convicted and were later released from prison.&nbsp;</p><p>Ryan had long supported the death penalty, but he said the possibility of putting an innocent person to death prompted him to rethink his stance.</p><p>"I support the death penalty," Ryan said.&nbsp; "But I also think there has to be no margin for error."</p><p>Three years later, however, Ryan commuted the sentences of 167 death row inmates to life, clearing death row entirely.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>"Because of the spectacular failure to reform the system, because we have seen justice delayed for countless death row inmates, with potentially meritorious claims, and because the Illinois death penalty system is arbitrary and capricious, and therefore immoral, I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death," Ryan said during a speech on January 11, 2003 announcing his commutations.&nbsp;</p><p>The speech was carried live on CNN and broadcast around the world, and Ryan was later nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.</p><p>Ryan's controversial moves re-ignited a national debate over capital punishment, raising questions about the whether the judicial system could be trusted not to put innocent men and women on death row.&nbsp; Soon, calls for reforming the system appeared in other states.</p><p>Along the way, Illinois lawmakers passed a series of measures aimed at reforming the capital punishment system.&nbsp; The reforms included efforts that focused on eliminating forced confessions and wrongful convictions throughout the state's judicial system.</p><p>Prosecutors in Illinois continued to seek the death penalty as they waited to see whether the moratorium imposed by Ryan would be lifted.&nbsp; The moratorium remained in effect until the Quinn signed a bill officially ending capital punishment earlier this year.</p><p>Southern Illinois attorney Tim Capps, one of few trial lawyers in the state that handled capital cases, said the new law will have a financial effect on the state. According to Capps, the cost of trying murder cases will now fall on individual counties instead of the Capital Litigation Trust Fund.<br> <br> Capps suggests it might be a good idea for the state to establish another fund to help pay for these cases, as capital murder cases can sometimes cost over a million dollars.</p><p>"In order to have the best and most fair trial possible you still have to have experts, you still have to have qualified attorneys. Now, all of those safeguards that we put into place to protect innocent people from getting on death row, those aren't going to be available to people who are facing non-death murder cases," Capps said.</p><p>According to Capps, judges won't allow the costs to reach the height they once did now that counties have to foot the bill. As for the Capital Litigation Trust Fund, the remaining $420,000 is supposed to go toward counseling for families of murder victims.</p><p>Illinois has executed 12 men since 1977 when the death penalty was reinstated, the last one in 1999. Quinn has already commuted the sentences of the 15 men on death row to life in prison without parole.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>Brad Palmer of Illinois Public Radio contributed reporting.</em></p></p> Fri, 01 Jul 2011 14:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/death-penalty-officially-ends-illinois-88630 Gov. Pat Quinn discusses his decision to abolish the death penalty http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-10/gov-pat-quinn-discusses-his-decision-abolish-death-penalty-83490 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Pat Quinn Getty - Win McNamee.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Since 2000, Illinois has had a moratorium on the death penalty. After two months of deliberation and a few strokes of a pen, <a target="_blank" href="http://www2.illinois.gov/gov/Pages/default.aspx">Gov. Pat Quinn</a> has done away with capital punishment in this state. He also commuted the death sentences of 15 prisoners &ndash; they&rsquo;ll now serve life without parole. <br /><br />Gov. Quinn joined <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> to discuss this landmark legislation. Citing the January general assembly which passed the bill to abolish the death penalty before it reached his desk, Quinn spoke of his communion with his own conscience about this issue, while indicating a feeling of responsibility to see the bill through, saying, &quot;If I changed even a comma on the bill, it would be dead.&quot; Noting that his opponent during his race for reelection in November, Senator Brady, wanted to lif t the moratorium on the death penalty put in place&nbsp; by Govenor Ryan, Quinn again spoke of taking &quot;a period of reflection, review and dialogue with the people of Illinois, prosecutors, families of the victims, as well as the general public on this issue. I thought that was a valuable exercise.&quot; He mentioned other conversations with moral leaders of different faiths, the teachings and writings of Cardinal Bernardin about what constitutes sufficient punishment, as well as readings in both the Old and New Testaments, as all being integral to his education on the issue. He also noted that retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, of Illinois, had struggled with this issue as well.</p><p>Quinn seemed to avoid speaking of the larger ramifications of his decision for the rest of the nation, focusing almost exclusively on Illinois. Noting that the law provides a fund for the the families of victims, as well as money to law enforcement to prevent further infractions, Quinn said, &quot;Anyone who has committed a capital crime, I want to see them severely punished&quot;, and mentioned that Ilinois was hiring more prision guards.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">In response to questions about his opponents on this issue, Quinn said, &quot;There will be politicians who want to make this a political issue and try to reinstate it, but I don&rsquo;t think that will happen.&quot; <a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-10/cook-county-states-attorney-disappointed-death-penalty-ban-83493">Speaking with <em>Eight-Forty-Eight&nbsp;</em> by phone</a>, States Attorney General Anita Alvarez expressed concerns that Governor Quinn had not fully considered the reforms that have been in place in the system since 2003. But supporters of the ban, such as <a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-10/attorney-andrea-lyon-welcomes-end-death-penalty-illinois-83489">Attorney Andrea Lyon</a>, often called &quot;The Angel of Death Row&quot;, expressed the great emotion she felt at seeing the bill pass. &quot;Suddenly it hit me that I would never have to stand in a courtroom again in&nbsp;Illinois and beg for someone's life from a jury again,&quot; Lyon said of being at the press conference in Springfield on Wednesday. In ultimately making his decision, Gov. Quinn spoke of&nbsp; being inspired by a portrait of President Lincoln in his office, and said he believed Lincoln would have made the same choice. In his words, the death penalty ban is &quot;now the law of the land, in the land of Lincoln.&quot;</p></p> Thu, 10 Mar 2011 14:19:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-10/gov-pat-quinn-discusses-his-decision-abolish-death-penalty-83490 Death penalty and tax hike get Gov. Quinn's attention in lame duck session http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/death-penalty-and-tax-hike-get-gov-quinns-attention-lame-duck-session <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/death chamber_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The saying goes that nothing is certain in life except death and taxes. That may well be the fate all of us face. Politicians on the other hand, generally try to avoid going there: Not the Illinois General Assembly.</p><p>This week lawmakers passed the largest income-tax hike in state history as well as a bill to end the state&rsquo;s death penalty. Gov. Pat Quinn says he will approve the increase in personal and corporate taxes but he hasn&rsquo;t publicly voiced whether or not he will sign the death penalty bill, which would also end Illinois&rsquo; 10 year moratorium. So what are the political implications of these decisions? Could they derail Quinn &ndash; who otherwise seems to be on a roll in this lame-duck session?</p><p>To help &quot;Eight Forty-Eight&quot; sort it out, <a target="_blank" href="http://cspl.uis.edu/InstituteForLegislativeStudies/AboutUs/FacultyStaff/ChrisMooney.htm">Christopher Mooney</a>, professor of political studies at the University of Illinois at Springfield joined the conversation. Mooney is the founding editor of <a target="_blank" href="http://sppq.press.illinois.edu/">State Politics and Policy Quarterly</a>.</p><p><em>Music Button: Eighth Blackbird, &quot;Variations on Sea-Time Mesozoic&quot;, from the CD Beginnings, (Cedille) </em></p></p> Thu, 13 Jan 2011 13:54:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/death-penalty-and-tax-hike-get-gov-quinns-attention-lame-duck-session