Energy & Environment

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with Solarize Southern Illinois' Beau Henson and Straight Up Solar's Brent Ritzel about their new group buy project.

Commentary: Dr. Mike Baltz, And Lessons From The Lorax

Apr 13, 2020

On this edition, Ornithologist Dr. Mike Baltz brings back the LORAX, and how this mythical Dr. Seuss character can be relevant today.

Electricity and environmental advocates offered their pitches to Illinois state senators this week on how to reduce a portion of the state’s carbon emissions. But each group has different ideas about how to do it.

Members from the Illinois renewable energy industry touted its economic impact as they unveiled an interactive map of solar projects across the state. But they warned that the current boom will go bust if the State doesn’t pass new legislation.

Illinois' Department of Agriculture published its bi-annual study that looked at how to improve water quality by cutting down on pollutants that runoff into streams and rivers. Runoff has been on the rise lately, and officials say reducing it involves more than just farmers.

Floodwaters carved a path of devastation through the Midwest this year — and carried hundreds of storage tanks downstream to Missouri.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is collecting these orphaned containers, which range in size from small buckets to 500,000-gallon tanks. Many contain hazardous materials, including diesel fuel, pesticides and ammonia gas.

Most of the containers have washed up along the banks of the Missouri River in the northwest corner of the state, said DNR environmental scientist Stephen McLane.

The Trump administration wants to reverse roadless protections for the country's largest national forest, and opponents fear pristine land in Illinois and other states could be next.

Shawnee Forest

Two open houses this month will discuss the recently released recreation fee proposal at the Shawnee National Forest.

The forest's Laura Lecher says the fee proposal was announced last August because recreation funding has declined over the past ten years.

As cooler weather arrives this fall, certain insects are looking to head indoors.  Among those bugs that want to share your home is a relative newcomer to Illinois. 

The brown marmorated stink bug has been showing up here since about 2010. 

Brad Palmer, WSIU Radio

Climate strikes are going on around the world Friday to demand action be taken to address the climate crisis.

Locally, a few dozen people held their own event on the SIU-Carbondale campus, near Faner Hall.

Illinois News Connection

Energy-efficiency jobs are booming in Illinois, and the pace is not expected to slow down anytime soon. According to a report released Monday, Illinois added more than 2,500 energy-efficiency jobs in 2018. That's a nearly 3% increase.


Two Illinois agencies are being sued for failing to provide documents relating to a nuclear contamination lawsuit in Massac County.

An event this fall in southern Illinois will try to develop strategies to address what organizers say is the urgent crisis of climate change.

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller visits Flora Bay Farm ahead of the 2019 Neighborhood Co-op Farm Crawl, and talks with Farmer Courtney Smith, Co-op Brand Manager Amy Dion, and FoodWorks Executive Director Jennifer Paulson.

Illinois News Connection

Illinois is among nearly two dozen states fighting a new Trump administration rule, saying it won't be effective at cleaning up pollution from power plants.

Illinois News Connection

Conservation groups are slamming the Trump administration's new rule that significantly weakens the Endangered Species Act.

The Importance of Pollinators

Jul 12, 2019
WSIU/Kevin Boucher

On this edition of WSIU InFocus, we visit a southern Illinois farm that has eight acres planted in native plants to provide much-needed food for a group of insects and mammals, known as pollinators.

The Illinois Pollution Control Board determined an energy company is responsible for contaminating groundwater with coal ash in four Illinois communities. 

A local city commission released a survey to have public input influence a sustainability action plan. WSIU's Amelia Blakely has more.

Illinois News Connection

Conservation groups are asking Gov. J.B. Pritzker to speak out this week against a proposal that could weaken clean-water protections for the Ohio River.

The Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission will vote Thursday, June 6, on a plan that would make adoption of the agency's pollution-control standards along the river voluntary.

As grassland and prairies gave way to farmland in the Midwest, habitats for some native birds disappeared. There’s a relatively new program in central Illinois looking to restore wetlands for migrating birds and help farmers at the same time.

The program to help them is limited but is secure for now. However, the future for both the bird and the program could be on shakier ground in just a few years.

Andrew Joyce won’t be growing any tomatoes this summer. His three-acre produce farm in Malden, Missouri, will lie fallow. The cause: damage from the weed killer dicamba.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is taking public comments on a plan to expand the clean-up at Koppers Wood-Treating Facility in Carbondale.

The EPA wants the current site owner, Beazer East, to excavate contaminated soil from over eight acres of the property for disposal in an off-site landfill. Another seven acres of contaminated soil would be covered with a one-foot thick clean soil cover.

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with Nancy garwood and Jean Sellar about the upcoming Indigenous Plant Symposium at John A. Logan College.

Ticks, And How Are They Adapting?

Mar 21, 2019
Courtesy of the Illinois Department of Public Health.

With Spring arriving and many of us getting outside, ticks will no doubt be doing the same thing.

On this edition of WSIU INFOCUS, we visit with some tick experts to learn more about this amazing

creature, which has survived on the earth a long time.

At Hummel’s Nissan in Des Moines, Kevin Caldwell sells the all-electric Leaf. Driving one is basically the same as driving a typical gasoline or gas-electric hybrid car, he said, except for a few new features like the semi-autonomous hands-free option. And the fact that you plug it in rather than pumping gas into it.

About a quarter to a third of Caldwell’s Leaf customers are farmers, some of whom grow corn for ethanol.

Environmental groups want Illinois to produce more clean energy, but the state is already behind on its renewable energy goals.

Activists are calling on Illinois to improve transparency in the oil and gas extraction technique known as fracking.

The Illinois Supreme Court is being asked to settle a fight between two of the state’s environmental regulators. At issue is whether certain waste disposal sites should have to do groundwater testing.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed an executive order making Illinois the 18th state to join the Unites States Climate Alliance on Wednesday. The alliance was created when President Donald Trump withdrew from the Paris climate change agreement back in 2017.