Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Celebrate our 2012 successes with us at our end of the summer cook-out at Papi Chulo's Bar and Grill on the river front.  We have a fun day of activities planned: raffles, games, music, food and conversation.
Goodies baked by our board members will be raffled off, as well as  baskets filled with wine or natural health and beauty products.  And whether an active athlete or a vegetative couch potato, you'll want to participate in our Split the Pot Boccie tournament. The ability to roll a ball is the only skill necessary.

Saturday, September 15, 2012
Papi Chulos Bar and Grill (on the river)
13601 Hoxie Ave., Chicago
2:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Menu includes:  hamburgers, veggie burgers, hot dogs, potato salad, pasta salad, tossed salad and soda or water.  Food will be served between 4:00 PM and 6:00 PM only.  CASH BAR

You may purchase your ticket at our SETF office, from one of our Board Members or at the PayPal link conveniently located here:

Friday, August 17, 2012

SETF Granted Funds Through the Millennium Reserve Project

The Southeast Environmental Task Force proudly announces that their submission was among the initial projects selected to be funded through the Millennium Reserve Project that was announced by Senator Richard Durbin and Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar on Thursday. 

The twelve model projects selected to be funded under the Millennium Reserve Project were:

Blue Island Rain Barrel Initiative, Burnham Prairie Restoration, Burnham Wildlife Corridor, Calumet Invasive Species Conservation Corps, Calumet Water Trails Brochure, Greencorps Chicago, Midlothian Creek Green Infrastructure Plan, Mighty Acorns Program: Calumet Partnership, Mighty Acorns Program: Calumet Partnership, Millennium Reserve Roots, Northerly Island Restoration, Off the Beaten Path Eco-Tours, and River Volunteer Stewardship Program: Kickapoo Woods Demonstration Site.

All twelve project will further the intent to transform the Calumet Region of Chicago into a one-of-a-kind public destination through the conservation, restoration and enhancement of our natural ecosystems; consequently supporting prosperous communities and stimulating economic growth.

Peggy Salazar explaining SETF's Calumet Vision

Just one of the 12 model projects on display.

Suzanne Malek-Mckenna points out a map of the Millennium Reserve to Secretary Salazar

Zhanna Yarmokov of the Chicago Park District with Board Member Tom Shepherd

Terry Mazany of the Chicago Community Trust with SETF members Peggy Salazar and Tom Shepherd

Mark Carroll of the Rowing Group poses with Tom and Peggy

Catching up with Judy Pollack, Director of Regional Audubon

Tom posing with Duane Ambrosz of IDNR

Tom chatting it up with Benjamin Cox, Director of Friends of the Forest Preserve

Explaining or Calumet Vision to Carolyn Marsh and Scott Harper

Salazar, Shepherd and Salazar

SETF member, William Balasas
Secretary Salazar with SETF Intern John Rossi

Walter Marcisz, Carolyn Marsh, Peggy Salazar

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

“Yes, we’ve won the battle, but we haven’t won the war . . .”

By Sharon Rolek, Member SETF

Mid-afternoon Friday, August 10, Governor Quinn’s statement was released.  He vetoed SB3766 – which planned “to void any previously approved sourcing agreements by the ICC as it relates to the Chicago Clean Energy project, and seeks to address several contested issues including debt ratio, projected annual output, and cost recovery percentages” of Leucadia’s Gasification Plant. The environmental community bombarded the Gov. with 700 phone calls, 11,000 petitions and a 200-person rally at the Thompson Center. The trade unions and Alderman Pope put a lot of pressure on the Gov. with their pro-Leucadia efforts. 

While we are pleased the Gov. vetoed this bill, his reasons were purely economic.  Even after a recent visit from the Brian Urbaszewski, Director of Environmental Health Programs at the Respiratory Health Association of Metro. Chicago.  His letter included comments about protecting the ratepayers, but also that he wants a “bill to enable this project to move forward.”

The veto of SB 3766 is a big interim victory in our fight against Leucadia's coal plant, but the fight is not over yet. Leucadia still has guaranteed 84% funding of their project through a previously-passed bill. However, there are numerous hurdles Leucadia has in front of them before the plant can go forward. Leucadia must obtain pollution credits from the Illinois Pollution Control Board in order to operate on the site. They also must apply for air and water permits with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. Leucadia doesn't even own the land that they want to develop. We will have further opportunities to engage in this process, and we'll need your help to succeed once again!  Anyone wanting to help, please contact kady.mcfadden@sierraclub.org  She is heading up our “Beyond Coal”/Environmental Justice Alliance of the Southeast Side of Chicago.

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Do They Mean It?

This past Friday, Governor Quinn exercised his veto power on the bill that would have forced natural gas facilities to purchase synthetic gas from the Leucadia coal gasification facility.  The General Assembly's bill locked utilities into purchasing the syn-gas at prices double the current market rate for the next 30 years. 

Quinn pointed out in his explanation for the veto that things had changed since he signed the original authorization bill into law.  In addition, the project faced stiff oppositon from an array of business, environmental (the Task Force being one), and consumer groups.

Though the veto was a serious blow to the project, SETF is not so sure that the project is dead.  A statement on Chicago Clean Energy's internet site would lead us to believe different however.  It clearly states that Leucadia plans to move on to their other projects in the country.  Fact or threat? 
Read their statement and decide for yourself here:


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Holcim Helps to Plant Trees Along the Burnham Greenway

With a little nudging from Friends of the Parks, the Chicago Park district was able to supply Trees R Beautiful with 16 good size trees to plant along the Burnham Greenway.  Trees R Beautiful in turn had to supply the volunteers to plant them.  Holcim employees:  Kenny Gomez, Dave Duhamell, Roberto Carrillo, Theodore Hanson, Kyle Bonner, and Andy Hixson came to the rescue.   With their assistance, Trees R Beautiful was able to get all 16 planted in one day. 

We will be ever grateful to them for their help.

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Thursday, August 2, 2012


Because of our opposition to development projects like Leucadia’s on the Southside, we are often asked, “What would you be agreeable to?”  Our answer,  “ green sustainable industries that: don’t negatively impact the community,  can provide descent paying jobs, are attractive and enhance the neighborhood .”  Followed by, “ where are you going to get something like that?"  Last Tuesday,  SETF set out to find out the answer. 
With a few members in tow, we boarded the trolley and headed to 45th and Racine to see the Platnium LEED Certified Testa Produce Facility.  Down the Dan Ryan we went aboard Molly, South Chicago's Green Trolley, and with the view flaps rolled up, the ride was both noisy and thrilling.  Huge trucks whizzed past us, so close that if we stuck our hands out – well you get the picture. 

SETF arrives via the South Chicago Chamber's Trolley
765,085 Gallon External Retention Pond sits at the entrance of the facility.  Testa stands out like a "green thumb" among the many traditional industries in the area.  A traditional plant that renders animal fat (complete with odors) can be seen in
the background.

SETF Members gather in front of building taking in all of the green intiatives.

First free standing wind turbine in Chicago.

Each blade is 70 feet long.  It's shadow during March and September can stretch almost a mile radius.
It generates 880,000 KW/hrs per year offsetting about 80 homes worth of energy.

At the site, Angela our tour guide greeted us with a friendly smile and told us a little about her time with Testa. She immediately launched to an explanation of how Testa was a 100 year old company and what made Testa a LEED Certified facility.

Members asking questions on second floor of building.  The floor to ceiling glass windows will eventually be covered by a trellis of vines.

Draught resistant vegetation covers 50% of roof, releases oxygen for clearn air, insulates the building decreasing
heat waste emissions and lengthens the replacement time of the roof.

 A roof top deck with a view of our beautiful downtown skyline  is available to their employees.
Angela points all all the unique green features of their roof like the rows of solar panels.

 SETF gets a view of the warehouse portion from the working offices.

 5000 gallon internal cistern collects filtered rainwater for non-potable uses.  Typically provides all water for flushing toilets.  Water efficiency leads to over 40% of building's water demand.

An  Eco friendly Ammonia Glycol refrigeration system keeps produce cold.

 Group gathers in lobby for departure, asking questions to the very last mintue.

It was hard to imagine that an attractive facility like Testa stood on the ground that was once an assulting industry like the stockyards.   At the conclusion of the tour, we felt assured that businesses could be greener, that brownfields could indeed be developed in a more sustainable, attractive way, and that we now had to find a way to help that happen.