Illinois Green Government Coordinating Council
Minutes of the September 9, 2005 Meeting
15 th Floor
James R. Thompson Center

Roll Call: Lt. Governor Pat Quinn, Paul Campbell (Department of Central Management Services), Hans Detweiler (Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity),

Kevin Greene (Illinois Environmental Protection Agency), Kim Jansen (Department of Agriculture), Jeri Knaus (Waste Management and Research Center), Leslie Sgro (Department of Natural Resources), Karen Shoup (Capital Development Board), Ron Wright (Capital Development Board)

Other Attendees: Katie McClain, Mary Beth Murphy, Sodiqa Williams, Cathy Malina, Carolyn Brown Hodge (Office of Lt. Governor), Joe Shacter (Environmental Law and Policy Center)

Call to Order and Opening Remarks

Lt. Governor Pat Quinn welcomed the attendees to the third quarterly meeting of the Illinois Green Government Coordinating Council.

Discussion of Second Quarter minutes

The Council approved the minutes from its June 10, 2005, meeting with a few corrections: (1) Joe Shacter noted that ELPC research on e-waste showed that businesses and recyclers' first preference is to craft a national solution to e-waste; their second preference is a regional solution, and third is single-state. The larger the base for a set of rules, the more efficient it is to follow those rules. Thus, a regional approach is better than a single-state approach, but a national approach is best of all. (2) Hans Detweiler noted that his comment on the bottom of the first page was that DCEO, not GGCC, was disappointed that SB 250 did not specifically mention LEED standards. (3) Ron Wright said that CDB had 8 green building workshops planned, not four.

Report on Renewable Fuels

The Lt. Governor noted that discussion of renewable fuels is extremely timely because millions of Americans are currently looking for alternative and less expensive ways to power their vehicles. He identified Illinois as an epicenter for ethanol and suggested the Council determine how state government can educate and activate the public about bio-diesel fuel.

Hans Detweiler noted that 70 Illinois gas stations, only 2 stations in Chicago, now offer E-85 fuel, which is four times the number that sold ethanol last year. The strongest support for E-85 comes from agriculture and from rural Illinois, where stations have been using the price difference between regular fuel and E-85 to create a strong market for ethanol. Detweiler said he is interviewed about E-85 often in the downstate media market, but the Chicago media has not been responsive.

Tracking sales of E-85 for state vehicles has been difficult because gas stations often code E-85 purchases as “other” on receipts. The state ought to ensure that E-85 is coded as “E-85” in all future state purchases. The Council should continue to encourage state agencies to use E-85 in their vehicles because the Governor's Executive Order requires the state to use E-85 fuel whenever possible. The Department of Revenue might have the data on the number of gallons used across the state.

The Lt. Governor has been promoting the use of E-85 across Illinois. He spoke with a Ford Motors representative at the Dequoin State Fair who said the company is making a new model, and he believes the state should encourage Ford to make it flex-fuel. According to Hans Detweiler, Ford is reluctant because it feels it invested in flex-fuel vehicles a few years ago with little result. There is a significant difference today, however, because gas prices are much higher.

Paul Campbell noted that CMS has increased the number of flex-fuel vehicles used by the state but probably has not converted its fleet as well as it should. For information on the IEPA Green Fleets Program, Kevin Greene suggested contacting Darwin Burkhart at IEPA. Carolyn Brown Hodge asked if the state might create a sales tax exemption for flex-fuel vehicles. She also suggested requiring every station to have an E-85 pump, although this might be expensive. She asked if IL farmers will be able to keep up with the growing demand for E-85 given the poor crop yield this year and wondered whether IL might have to import corn from out of state.

The Governor asked the Attorney General to track gas price gouging across the state, and Hans Detweiler spoke specifically about E-85 price gouging with Ben Weinberg, who is leading the AG effort. While the upstate difference between regular fuel and E-85 is roughly $0.15/gallon, the downstate difference is $0.60-70/gallon. Blenders in the Chicago area seem to be responsible for this marked difference, and Detweiler pointed Weinberg in this direction. The Lt. Governor is concerned that E-85 prices are being raised above what the market dictates. He suggested GGCC look into the situation, particularly because the state has a financial stake as one of the largest E-85 producers. He suggested state government use its market power to ensure prices are fair.

Jeri Knaus (WMRC) said that Casey's gas stations are dropping the price of premium unleaded below the price of regular unleaded because they are blending premium with 10% ethanol.

The Lt. Governor asked if the state gets a discount based on the volume of E-85 it purchases. Paul Campbell said it does, but Illinois has not done the hedging that other state and local governments have. He believes the City of Chicago, for example, hedges six months in advance. The Lt. Governor suggested that the Council learn whether any municipalities besides Aurora rely on E-85. Katie McClain said the Lt. Governor's Office has had no direct contact with state universities about using E-85.

Paul Campbell said CMS has 14 garages throughout the state, and only one carries E-85. He noted that IDOT and the Department of Corrections maintain their own facilities for fuel supply. He is does not know if they use E-85. Hans Detweiler suggested using the Governor's coalition to increase the number of E-85 gas stations across the state.

Energy Star Challenge

The Lt. Governor's office will be working with the U.S. EPA to reduce, in 10% increments, the amount of energy used by the state. The Lt. Governor gave a press conference announcing the initiative at the University of Illinois at Chicago, which has installed a roof with an energy-efficient soy-based sealant.

Mark Pruitt of the UIC Energy Resources Council has been gathering information for the last 10 months on the state's energy usage. He is having some difficulty getting energy data from all of the agency sources he needs. Kevin Greene suggested that the GGCC use its power to help him gather data and put weight behind the UIC study. The Lt. Governor agreed. The Council also ought to determine whether the data needed by ERC exists and exists in the correct form. GGCC ought to learn whether data is by state agency or by state building.

Hans Detweiler asked how the state plans to reduce its energy consumption by 10% and implement the recommendations of at least one comprehensive energy audit on a state facility. He mentioned the state has been reluctant to use energy performance contracts because a percentage of each contract goes to the energy performance contractor, and as a result, the state receives just a portion of the energy savings. He noted that there are other ways to gain energy savings such as Building Operator Certification and operations and maintenance improvements, but the state still needs to look at energy performance contractors and capital improvements.

Katie McClain suggested that the Council participate in the training sessions that the U.S. EPA is helping the Lt. Governor's office with. Karen Shoup asked Katie McClain to forward her a copy of the energy audits from CMS. Kevin Greene requested the council put together a list of all the different agencies and their resources.

GGCC Annual Report

Reviewing the Report, the Council plans to expand the state agency reporting section by this time next year. The Lt. Governor recognized that there is a lot to do between now and next fall.

Electronic Waste

The Computer Equipment Disposal Commission will produce a report in May 2006 with recommendations for state policies and goals regarding electronic waste. Paul Campbell said that any surplus electronic property currently owned by the state is offered to municipalities. Rather than throw away electronic products, CMS is obligated to sell through the surplus process. It either donates or sells old equipment, and it has also started to use IBID. Campbell thinks the state will lease computers in the future and expects a surge in the number of PCs the state will be disposing. Kevin Greene said IEPA would like to make some suggestions in state purchase of computers. Campbell offered the name of the point person at CMS, Steve Lee.

The Council also mentioned that the state will need to have a good recycling program in place when it switches to computer leasing because there will be a large amount of electronic waste.

Electric Procurement

Katie McClain noted that there is a 3% renewable energy component to the state's most recent electric purchasing contract. This contract covers electric procurement for 15 buildings in the Chicago area, and because it marks the first time in this administration that the state has had a renewable component in its contract, Kevin Greene suggested that there be a public announcement. He thinks the renewable energy component existed in theory in a previous administration but was not implemented because the state was hoping for more savings than it was going to receive. He also said the Council should find out if the state is currently a member of the U.S. EPA Green Power Partnership.

Greene also mentioned that Springfield's municipal utility, CWLP, is planning to build a new power plant and will increase rates about 33%. He wondered if the state could use its purchasing power with CWLP to persuade them to incorporate green power into their portfolio.

The Lt. Governor suggested following what the California State Teachers Retirement System is doing. CALSTRS is a part of the Energy Star challenge, and Illinois might be able to model some of the state's pensions after the CALSTRS program. The Lt. Governor's staff will look into this and report back at the next meeting.

Public Act 094-0573 (Green Building Act)

There are three major components to Public Act 094-0573: (1) Green design and construction workshops. (2) Pilot projects. (3) Green Building Advisory Committee. Ron Wright said CDB has been working diligently since the last Council meeting. Eight locations for green construction workshops are nearly secured, and the technical team is coming together. The design community is also stepping up with CDB on green building construction. According to Wright, CDB will have reached out to 800-1,000 design professionals by the spring. LEED 2.1 overview will be taught during the green building workshops.

The Lt. Governor said it is important that the state of Illinois be a leader in green building and highlight this work. Katie McClain announced that there is a state employee tour of green buildings in Chicago on October 13.

Agency Reports

Karen Shoup (CDB) is working with the Illinois Board of Education to finalize a state guide for healthy schools, which will be released this fall. The guide offers suggestions for the operation of buildings, building components, school cafeterias, school bus fleets, and school nursing stations. It suggests that healthy buildings lead to healthy students and stronger academic performances. The Lt. Governor suggested placing this in the Illinois Healthy Schools Initiative. Jeri Knaus noted that California has a “Go Green” Initiative, which focuses on recycling as one component of a healthy school.

Ron Wright noted that the Illinois Energy Conservation Code for Commercial Buildings will become effective in spring 2006. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is coordinating training sessions on the new code's standards.

Jeri Knaus noted that a recycling and pollution prevention policy exists at WMRC. She suggested that this policy be made statewide and GGCC use its power to implement it.


Joe Shacter said the Environmental Law and Policy Center is very happy to be working with Ron Wright at CDB and with the E-Waste Commission. ELPC has been pushing for greater rail service on the corridor between Chicago and St. Louis.

Ron Wright suggested the Council reach out to work with the Department of Transportation. Kevin Greene agreed, adding that GGCC might invite representatives from IDOT and the Department of Corrections to sit on the Council. He also suggested that GGCC invite representatives from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, Environmental Council, Illinois PIRG, and Center for Neighborhood Technology to attend quarterly meetings. The Lt. Governor said it would be a great victory for the state if the Council can make IDOT greener.

The Lt. Governor urged all members of the Council to come forward with legislative ideas and policy recommendations between now and the next meeting. He also noted that there is a lot of sediment at the bottom of the Illinois River, which the state might be able to bring to Louisiana for a “Mud to Parks” program.

Date for Next Quarterly Meeting

December 16, 2005


Meeting adjourned at 11:50 a.m.