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Bennett: Buy Illinois to create jobs, support local economies

bennett 030519SPRINGFIELD – A bill sponsored by State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) would require State agencies to purchase products that are made in Illinois. 

“This is a great step forward and demonstrates our commitment to supporting Illinois businesses, driving job creation and ensuring our tax dollars stay here in Illinois and in America,” Bennett said. “I will continue my efforts to support our local businesses, manufacturers and contractors as we work together to level the playing field with foreign competitors.”

The legislation would require State agencies to buy Illinois manufactured products when available. If Illinois made products are not available, they will then buy products made in the United States.

House Bill 357 passed the Senate State Government Committee and will go before the full Senate for further consideration.

Bennett: Illinois has a toxic coal ash problem

bennett 050919Coal Ash Pollution Prevention Act will protect land and water from coal ash pollution

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) advanced legislation today to address the issue of severe groundwater contamination at Illinois coal ash dumpsites.

Recently, several state environmental groups found unsafe levels of toxic pollutants at 22 of Illinois’ coal ash storage sites in the last year.

Millions of tons of coal ash, generated by the state’s coal-fired power plants, have been stored in primarily unlined ponds and landfills near the plants for decades. This toxic byproduct of burning coal continues to flow into groundwater, lakes, rivers, and streams around the state, including the Middle Fork of the Vermilion River, Illinois’ only National Scenic River.

Bennett moves to strengthen protections for vital Central Illinois natural resource

bennett 050219SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) advanced a plan through the Senate today to secure protections for the Mahomet Aquifer, the primary water source for 50,000 Central Illinois residents.

Senate Bill 2027 would direct the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) to prioritize landfills overlying the Mahomet Aquifer for inspection. The bill would encourage the IEPA to use existing information available from the State and federal agencies to identify unknown, unregulated, or under regulated waste disposal sites that overlie the Aquifer and may pose a threat to surface water or groundwater resources.  

“If we don’t take action now to protect this resource, our future generations will not have clean drinking water,” Bennett said. “This bill will help complement our ongoing efforts to maintain the quality of the groundwater and help us ensure the long-term health and safety of these residents.”

The bill also seeks to establish a pilot program at the Pekin Metro Landfill to identify potential and current threats to the water quality of the Aquifer from the landfill.

The proposed legislation comes from the recommendations of the Mahomet Aquifer Protection Task Force, a bipartisan coalition of central Illinois lawmakers from both chambers of the General Assembly, including Rep. Carol Ammons (D-Urbana) and Sen. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet). The task force, chaired by Champaign Mayor Deborah Feinen, also includes scientists from the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois, Illinois State Geological Survey, the Illinois Water Survey and the IEPA.

SB 2027 now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Bennett advances measure to promote renewable energy projects in Illinois

Solar PanelsSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) advanced a plan through the Senate this week to help facilitate solar projects statewide.

Senate Bill 211 will allow a State purchasing officer or a State agency to enter in to an energy conversation program or energy savings contract or lease for up to 25 years. Currently, construction agencies can enter renewable energy resource contracts and leases that do not exceed 10 years.

“Everybody shares the same goals of lower energy costs, reduced pollution and more jobs in Illinois, and this bill is a good first step in achieving that,” Bennett said. “Extending the time limit for these contracts will help the solar industry create jobs in Illinois, bring down energy costs and build a homegrown, renewable energy supply in our state.”

The proposal was supported by the University of Illinois, Southern Illinois University and the Environmental Law & Policy Center. In the past, universities have found it difficult to explore solar energy contracts, which are typically longer than the current 10 year limit prescribed in the current law. Bennett’s bill would align with the solar module warranty length and make projects more appealing to universities.

SB 211 passed out of the Senate and moves to the House for Consideration.

Sen. Scott Bennett

Senator Scott Bennett

52nd Senate District

Years served: 2015 - Present

Committee assignments: Agriculture (Chairperson); Appropriations II; Criminal Law (Vice-Chairperson); Higher Education; Labor; State Government; Subcommittee on Capital.

Biography: Bennett grew up in Gibson City, where four generations of his family worked on their family farm. He moved to Champaign-Urbana to attend law school at the University of Illinois after graduating from Illinois State University.

Associated Representatives:
Carol Ammons
Michael T. Marron