CHICAGO – Douglas P. Scott, Director of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Illinois EPA), was awarded the 2007 Keep Illinois Beautiful Environmental Vision Award yesterday for his outstanding environmental leadership. He accepted the award at the Keep Chicago Beautiful 20th Anniversary Awards Dinner held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago.
The Environmental Vision Award is deemed the highest award given by the Keep Illinois Beautiful Board of Directors, whose members voted unanimously that Director Scott was exceedingly worthy of receiving the award for his efforts protecting and cleaning up the air, land and water throughout the state.
Scott has been Director of the Illinois EPA since July of 2005. He was born in Rockford, where he served as Assistant City Attorney and City Attorney from 1985 to 1995. During his tenure in those positions, he worked with Illinois EPA on a variety of environmental issues and initiated programs such as curbside recycling, compost collection, used tire collection, and household hazardous waste collection.
While serving as an Illinois State Representative for the 67th District from 1995 to 2001, Scott also pioneered initiatives to beautify the City of Rockford by giving residents the needed resources to rid their neighborhoods of abandoned buildings and vacant lots. During this time, he also served on the Energy and Environment Committee.
Scott served as the Mayor of Rockford from 2001 to 2005. While in this position, he formed several task forces, including those to study biotechnology and higher education. He also secured funding for much-needed infrastructure improvements and purchased vital riverfront properties for future development in the city. In addition to his leadership positions in the Illinois Municipal League, United States Conference of Mayors and National League of Cities, Director Scott was a founding member and served as the first President of the Illinois Chapter of the National Brownfields Association.
Since becoming Director of the Illinois EPA, Scott has helped make Illinois a leader in environmental protection. He has continued to expand the progressive environmental initiatives thereby further protecting the health of the environment and the people of Illinois.
An energetic and innovative advocate for public health and the environment, Director Scott has continued to be at the forefront of the state’s clean air and climate initiatives, as well as programs to protect public water supplies and to protect the land thorough out the state, ridding it of environmental hazards.
Director Scott is currently serving as Chair of the Illinois Climate Change Advisory Group, a group comprised of business leaders, labor unions, the energy and agricultural industries, scientists, environmental and consumer groups from throughout the state, which have successfully identified 24 strategies to cost-effectively reduce greenhouse gases and meet Gov. Blagojevich’s greenhouse gas emissions goals.
Under Scott’s leadership, the Illinois EPA also saw through to approval the Governor’s Mercury Reduction Plan, which dramatically improves water and air quality, and protects public health by dramatically slashing mercury, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from the three largest coal-fired power plant companies in Illinois: Midwest Generation, Ameren, and Dynegy. The agreements include commitments to shut down three of the oldest, least efficient boiler units, leading to a reduction of over 2 million tons of carbon dioxide annually.
He has been strong advocate for cleaning up and preserving the natural beauty of the land throughout the state including the Illinois Removes Illegal Dumps (I-RID) program, which continues to remove environmental hazards and protect Illinois’ natural environment. Since the statewide cleanups were launched, Director Scott has charged the agency with cleaning up approximately 100 open dump cleanups throughout the state, in both rural and urban areas. Approximately 12,500 tons of solid waste has been collected and sent to regulated landfills for disposal, 500 tons of recyclable metal waste has been sent to salvage and recycling facilities and 300 tons of tires have been collected and recycled.
Scott has also been a proponent in strengthening one of the nation’s most successful brownfields programs aimed at cleaning up environmental hazards at former industrial and commercial sites in communities making way for redevelopment. This includes implementation of the River Edge Redevelopment Initiative designed to revitalize Illinois’ river cities, which have an industrial history and economic development potential, but the cost of redevelopment and the environmental challenges have made attracting investment extremely difficult. A pilot program is underway in Aurora, Rockford and East St. Louis.
Keep Illinois Beautiful, Inc. has been a state-wide affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, Inc. since 1994. It is a non-profit organization that works to improve the environment through education, public awareness, and community involvement.