SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan marked Earth Day 2002 by committing state government to purchasing a set amount of electricity from renewable “green” power sources such as wind, solar, organic wastes and hydropower.
In addition, the governor proclaimed 2002 as “The Year of Clean Water” in Illinois and ordered the creation of an on-going groundwater and surface water resources plan that will analyze the use of the state’s water supplies and ways to protect them.
“This Earth Day commitment to green power will place Illinois at the forefront of a growing national movement to reduce traditional energy sources in favor of environmentally-friendly forms of power generation,” Ryan said. “This is a true long-term approach to improving our environment that will have tremendous benefits for the people of Illinois, the quality of our air and the preservation of scarce resources.”
Under the governor’s Executive Order Number 6 of 2002, by 2010 the state will purchase at least 5 percent of all electricity for buildings owned or operated by agencies under the governor’s control from renewable sources. The amount of “green power” purchased by the agencies will grow to at least 15 percent in 2020.
This new order follows up on a 2001 executive order compelling agencies to improve the environmental efficiency. As part of this effort, the governor’s Energy Cabinet, Green Government Coordinating Council and the Department of Central Management Services have been investigating ways for the state to buy “green” power.
A number of power companies already offer “green” power sources to customers. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has initiated a “Green Power Partnership Program” to encourage buying energy from renewable sources.
In recent years, the number of “green” power sources has increased through the proliferation of windmills, photovoltaic cells, solar thermal, the combustion of plant wastes and crops grown specifically for power and hydroelectric. The governor’s order states that “green” power will not include electricity from the burning of wastes, including wood, old tires and garbage from homes or businesses.
In proclaiming 2002 as “The Year of Clean Water,” the governor underscored his commitment to protecting the quality of water in Illinois. During the governor’s administration, more than $3 billion has been allocated through the Illinois FIRST program to help local communities upgrade drinking water and wastewater systems.
As a result of the state’s efforts over the last 30 years, more than 62 percent of the state’s 900 rivers are rated in good condition and 97 percent of the state’s 87,000 lakes and ponds are rated fair or good, according to federal standards.
Gov. Ryan issued Executive Order Number 5 of 2002, which calls on the state’s existing Interagency Coordinating Committee on Groundwater to develop an integrated groundwater and surface water agenda and supply assessment on an annual basis. This agenda is the first step in long-range projects to enhance the state’s water supplies.
“While we’ve seen good progress in the improvement of our water resources, we can’t relax our efforts,” the governor said. “Clean water is a vital need that crosses all generations. I’m committed to clean water. Our efforts now will affect our children and grandchildren. We must make sure that our water supply is as clean as possible from pollutants and protected for the future.”