Environmental Protection

Protecting the environment is an important civic responsibility. There are many ways that citizens come together to protect our environment -- from the simple actions taken in our daily lives to demanding sweeping legislation and laws. I am proud that I have incorporated environmental awareness and action in my daily life including recycling, energy conservation, and decreasing my carbon footprint. As a mother and a citizen, I have set an example for my children who are carrying environmental responsibility into the next generation. As attorney general, I will implement a broad platform to help protect the environment through promoting legislation, working with environmental groups, and working diligently to enforce environmental law. I am committed to supporting the Environmental Division in the attorney general’s office in order to safeguard the public by protecting the environment.

I consider the protection of our state’s clean air and water and natural resources to be one of the preeminent responsibilities of the office. As the state’s top lawyer, the attorney general must ensure that justice is served for all Illinois citizens, including justice as it relates to access to clean air, water and the preservation of natural resources. All citizens have the right to a healthy living environment. This responsibility has become even more important given the potentially dangerous and irresponsible environmental policies being pursued by the Trump administration.

The attorney general must step into the void left by the Trump and Rauner administrations when it comes to protecting our environment. We know that IEPA’s referrals to the office have been reduced by over 50% under the Rauner administration. The attorney general must exercise her broad authority to enforce environmental law within the state and must work with citizens and environmental groups to ensure that violations overlooked by the EPA and IEPA are addressed swiftly and effectively. In addition, the attorney general must marshal resources and commitment from the state’s attorney’s offices and the relevant local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to proactively leverage their powers to protect our environment. The attorney general should require each state’s attorney’s office to designate one or more attorneys to focus on prosecution of environmental crimes. Similarly, the attorney general should work to ensure that law enforcement agencies are committed to participating in investigations of environment crimes.

As attorney general, my goal will be to ensure that the office:

1) Promptly and effectively responds with all available legal resources to emergent environmental issues;

2) Works to ensure that IEPA is reporting violations promptly and comprehensively;

3) Investigates and prosecutes all violations of state and federal law with the goal of achieving full remediation;

4) Supports the efforts of private citizens and environmental groups in pursuing legal remedies;

5) Educates citizens on the environmental challenges we face so that they can protect themselves and participate in political discourse about environmental issues;

6) Advocates for sound environmental policy at the state and federal level;

7) Uses the rule of law and the power of the office to prevent or minimize the potential negative impact of federal environmental policies.

Through enforcement and litigation, my goals will be to: (1) seek to ensure that individuals and organizations who have suffered measurable harm are made whole; (2) seek to recover costs of remediation and measures necessary to prevent or minimize the impact of future harms; and (3) obtain reasonable and appropriate fines based on the nature, scope and seriousness of the violations, and that will deter the future misconduct of that specific offender and other possible future offenders.

I will be a strong advocate for environmental policies and programs that work to protect our clean air and water, and natural resources including the pursuit of 100% renewable energy, vehicle emissions standards, and strict regulation of coal ash. I will also work against harmful policies and programs such as fracking and bailing out fossil fuel-based energy programs.