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Environment

Climate news, including natural resources, endangered species, sustainability and conservation in Chicago.

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Prince William to Bezos, Branson and Musk: save the planet, then travel to space

William, who has been immersed in environmental issues all his life through the strong interest of his father, Prince Charles, and his late grandfather, Prince Philip, voiced his worries about the world his own children will inherit.

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After oil spill near Lockport, pipeline operators to pay $8.7 million, feds say

The release of 1,800 gallons of oil next to the Illinois-Michigan Canal damaged rare wetlands and threatened an endangered dragonfly species.

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As your home heating bill goes up — and it will — don’t blame renewable energy

Illinois leaders should explain where price increases really come from before Illinoisans turn their frustrations on the green power sector.

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As a fighter for the environment moves up and on, Pritzker must make sure there’s no sliding backward

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District’s emerging identity as a force against climate change could be eroded with Debra Shore’s exit.

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Debra Shore to lead six-state EPA region from Chicago

The Evanston politician will head one of the biggest federal environmental enforcement offices in the country.

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Chicago rips Indiana steel company for threatening our drinking water after 2 spills

Both the EPA and city on Friday called the situation at U.S. Steel in Portage "unacceptable."

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Oil spill closes Lake Michigan beaches; 2nd discharge in 2 weeks by U.S. Steel in Indiana

The oil leaked from the same plant that let out a large amount of iron — causing a plume of rust-colored liquid in the lake — in late September.

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Chicago EPA office to be led by Evanston politician Debra Shore

EPA Region 5 is one of the biggest offices for the country’s top environmental enforcer, tackling thousands of air, water and land pollution issues in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

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New Streets and Sanitation boss delivers housekeeping news council members want to hear

Newly appointed Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Cole Stallard said the shortage of 96-gallon garbage carts will be fixed, thanks to $918,000 provided by the Office of Budget and Management. Also, a year-long wait for tree-trimming will be cut by adding 11 crews, for a total of 25.

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3 scientists get Nobel Prize for discoveries in climate, complex physical systems

Syukuro Manabe, originally from Japan, and Klaus Hasselmann of Germany were cited for their work in "the physical modeling of Earth’s climate, quantifying variability and reliably predicting global warming." The second half of the prize went to Giorgio Parisi of Italy for explaining disorder in physical systems.

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Natural gas prices are rising. Why that helps the cleanest (and dirtiest) electricity sources.

Gas has been cheap in the United States for more than a decade. And low gas prices contributed to low electricity prices. But gas prices have soared in the past month.

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Indiana Dunes beaches reopen after U.S. Steel spills iron into Lake Michigan

Indiana, federal environmental officials declare the water is safe for humans after high levels of iron flowed into the lake.

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Another day, another dumper: Beef up protection for Lake Michigan

The lake provides drinking water for 7 million people. Millions of people visit the Indiana Dunes National Park. Stop the pollution now.

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Lake County man dies of rabies after bat bite

This was the first case of human rabies in Illinois since 1954, the Illinois Department of Public Health said.

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Lake Michigan beaches closed, water plant shuttered after U.S. Steel spill in Northwest Indiana

The source of the rust-colored liquid is unknown but all Indiana Dunes National Park beaches are closed until further notice.

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It’s not a bird. Not a plane. It’s a flying microchip.

Northwestern University scientists develop world’s tiniest "human-made flying structure."

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Illinois now boasts the ‘most equitable’ climate law in America. What will that mean?

Besides setting targets for a switchover to clean energy, it comes with promises of equitable job creation and an emphasis on helping communities hit hardest by fossil-fuel pollution.

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‘There is no time to lose,’ Pritzker says as he signs energy legislation lawmakers say ‘gives our state a very clear future’

After months of negotiations on the bill, the Illinois Senate on Monday sent the legislation to Pritzker’s desk on a 37-17 vote — with three senators voting present — after the Illinois House voted last week to pass the measure.

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Illinois takes a national lead in promoting green energy — now it’s time to deliver

It’s up to every level of government — and up to us — to get behind the new law and make sure it delivers on its promises.

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Want plastic utensils in that takeout order? You’ll have to ask

An ordinance that passed the City Council Tuesday says restaurants can’t include single-use utensils unless customers request them. The Council also OK’d new guidelines for some city contracts and added new concessions at O’Hare Airport.

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No. 1, yes, cows can be potty trained, and that’s no bull, a serious scientific study finds

Cattles’ waste can cause environmental concerns. And cows do pee a lot. A cow can produce about eight gallons of urine a day. And their potty training is faster than your kid’s.

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City Council committee approves watered-down ban on single-use utensils

Chicago restaurants could still hand out plastic silverware or other single-use items but only if asked — though compliance is voluntary, with no fines.

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Illinois House advances sweeping energy overhaul — and marathon legislative effort sputters closer to finish line

The House returned Thursday and passed the legislation after the Senate advanced its own, largely identical version last week in a special session. The Senate plans to return Monday for a vote.

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Space podcast for kids connects with NASA astronauts

"REACH: A Space Podcast for Kids" met live with NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station on Expedition 65 and discussed the ethics of space exploration.

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Chicago River users now have a new way to check the quality of the water

A continuously updated website has just gone online that estimates the amount of bacteria that comes from human and other warm-blooded animals’ waste.

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Energy bill gets kick start from state Senate — but clock is ticking to keep it from sputtering out

Senate President Don Harmon said he believes the energy proposal can be on the governor’s desk "in a matter of days." Exelon issued its own deadline Wednesday, arguing it will need to close the Byron nuclear power plant unless lawmakers pass a bill before Sept. 13.

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It’s not enough to close coal-powered energy plants in Illinois by 2045 — start reducing emissions now

Illinois and the nation must finally must get serious about combating climate change and not bequeathing an environmental disaster to our children and grandchildren.

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New Little Village Target distribution center at Hilco warehouse says it becoming more green, improving community relations

Target said the facility currently has more than 700 employees with the goal of hiring a total of 2,000 people by the end of the year, including managers and warehouse workers with wages starting at $18 per hour.

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Electric vehicles need batteries. Those need lithium. That’s where the Salton Sea comes in.

California’s largest lake is at the center of efforts to extract this key component of rechargeable batteries and make the U.S. a global player in lithium production.

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Getting the lead out? New state law requires water suppliers to submit plans to remove lead service lines 

State Sen. Melinda Bush, a lead sponsor of the legislation, said the lines are a "health threat that not only costs us billions of dollars, but poisons our children and undermines our residents’ confidence" in their water supply.

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Massachusetts resort island residents sue to block wind farm over danger to endangered whales

Saying they would threaten North Atlantic right whales, a group from the island of Nantucket, Mass., is suing to block construction of dozens of wind turbines off the coast of Nantucket and nearby Martha’s Vineyard.

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Owners of now-closed Lincoln Park plant agree to pay $500,000 EPA fine

Reserve Management Group/Southside Recycling has since built a new shredding facility at its longtime property along the Calumet River at 116th Street and Burley Avenue.