Governor Pat Quinn has signed legislation in 2011 creating a commission to ensure minorities and the poor aren't disproportionately affected by environmental pollution. The Environmental Justice Act was sponsored by Democratic Sen. Toi Hutchinson of Chicago Heights and Rep. Will Davis of East Hazel Crest.
It creates a commission that will analyze state laws and policies to ensure no population bears the brunt of pollution risks. The panel will make recommendations to the governor and Legislature.
The new law addresses concerns about rising asthma rates and other health problems. Race, income or nationality shouldn't determine whether a community has clean air and water.
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency will provide administrative support to the commission. Members will include lawmakers, the public and health, environmental and business advocates. (Chicago Tribune, 8/16/2011)