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SPRINGFIELD – To continue efforts to protect Illinois communities from toxic coal ash pollution, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) addressed unresolved issues with the legislation passed in the spring.

Senator Bennett passed legislation to keep coal ash out of our water earlier this year. This new law directs the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) to begin a rule-making process to require power plant operators to safely dispose of coal ash or ensure that pits are properly enclosed, impose fees on coal ash pits to pay the costs of hiring IEPA staff to oversee enforcement, and require power plant operators to set aside money to pay for cleaning up pits in the event a plant is shut down or a company goes bankrupt.

“The bill itself was about being proactive for our future generations,” Bennett said. “It provides the protections, regulations and financial assurances to prevent coal ash crises from happening in Illinois.” 

Numerous negotiations took place between labor and industry, as well as the IEPA and environmental organizations. It was agreed that a trailer bill would be introduced to address some lingering issues with the bill regarding insurance and training provisions. This trailer bill indicates who is responsible for conducting cleanup in the event of a coal ash spill – and how those involved in cleanup will be protected from exposure to toxic chemicals.

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fire truck

THOMASBORO – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) announced Thursday that the Thomasboro Fire Protection District is one of 23 communities to receive funds to purchase fire trucks that will allow first responders to better serve the area.

“Fire departments consistently face financial burdens,” Bennett said. “This funding will allow the fire district to purchase the equipment they need, while also reducing the cost to local taxpayers.”

The Thomasboro Fire Protection District, a volunteer department, is the recipient of $300,000, which has given it the opportunity to purchase new equipment it may not otherwise have been able to afford.

“Our first responders protect the lives and property of our community members from fires and natural disasters,” Bennett said. “New fire trucks will help them to better serve our community in a safe and efficient manner.”

This funding is made possible through the Fire Truck Revolving Loan Program, which offers no interest or low interest loans to emergency responders across the state.

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SPRINGFIELD – Unfair insulin costs are taking a toll on those who are forced to pay the excessive price for this life-saving prescription drug. State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) voted to change that Tuesday.

Senator Bennett co-sponsored Senate Bill 667, which would cap patients’ out-of-pocket costs at $100 for a 30-day supply.

“People with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes need the medication,” Senator Bennett said. “Regular price hikes make insulin difficult to afford, and as lawmakers we have a responsibility to step in and protect the well-being of Illinoisans that depend on insulin.”

According to the American Diabetes Association, there are more than 30 million Americans who have diabetes, with 1.25 million having Type 1 diabetes. The condition requires daily administration of insulin to survive.

“This measure will provide financial relief to diabetics all across the state,” Bennett said. “The passage of this legislation is encouraging to continue to push for reform that will lower the cost of prescription drugs for everyone.”

Senate Bill 667 was spearheaded by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill).

The legislation has passed the Senate and now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Sen. Scott Bennett

CHAMPAIGN – Prairie Rivers Network (PRN) presented State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) with the PRN Outstanding Public Servant award on Friday, Oct. 25, 2019 in recognition of the Senator’s continued commitment to being an environmental advocate.

“I am honored to be recognized on behalf of Prairie Rivers Network,” Bennett said. “This organization works to protect water, heal land and inspire change, and I am grateful to work with them on environmental issues that we face in Illinois.”

The award honors elected officials and public servants that not only advocate for good environmental policies, but also see the problems facing Illinois and become part of the solution.

Bennett’s Coal Ash Pollution Prevention Act, which was signed into law this summer, made him a prime recipient for this award. Bennett championed this legislation to be proactive about the hazardous coal ash pollution threatening Illinois lakes, rivers and streams. Negotiations included PRN and they were a substantial ally in the process.

“This award is a testament to the work we have accomplished together,” Bennett said. “I look forward to continued collaborations with this organization on issues that will help protect our environment.”

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