* Chicago Ald. Joe Moore has been busily lobbying Senators on behalf of his own possible nomination to run the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. Many of the largest business groups in the state released a letter they sent to Senators last month opposing Moore’s nomination…
(W)e are teaming up to discourage the nomination and, if necessary, lobby against his confirmation to this critical state government position.
As background, Alderman Moore has been a member of Chicago’s City Council since 1991 and is probably best known for three big, public City Council battles: the Fois Gras ban, the Big Box Ordinance and the Chicago Clean Power Ordinance.
We believe that he’s not the right person for IEPA Director
* And their bullet points…
• Chicago Power Ordinance — By championing the Clean Power Ordinance in Chicago, the Alderman showed his willingness to undercut an IEPA-negotiated agreement, create uncertainty in the regulatory process, introduce the concept of a city having greenhouse gas emission regulations and, most importantly, single out specific plants for specific regulations in an effort to treat them differently. His willingness to lead the charge on an ordinance with these ramifications is an example of what the business community often complains is over-reaching government interference and its negative impact on job creation.
• Product Attacks – The Alderman’s own website included attacks on the use of plastics, pesticides, fertilizers, and genetically modified (GMO) foods as harmful to health and the environment (note: these references have been recently removed from the website but hard copies are available upon request). Regardless of your own position on these issues, it should be generally recognized that the Chicago City Council is not the proper forum for them. This is another example of the Alderman being unable to exercise sound judgment as to appropriate use of government powers.
• Aldermanic Record – Alderman Moore’s record includes taking on big issues that have generated attention for him and his positions. As alderman, that type of aggressive advocacy may have its place. However, the job of the IEPA director is an administrative position that is best done outside the limelight. It’s not a place to make laws, push personal agendas or single out companies or industries; it’s a place to administer policies and regulations. It seems as though Governor Quinn would be trying to put a square peg into a round hole when it comes to this nomination.
• Big Box Ordinance – The Alderman’s very public Big Box ordinance was a measure that put a narrow agenda over the interests of thousands of consumers. His belief in this kind of government intervention in the market while denying consumers access to retail opportunities gives businesses leaders great pause as to how he would run an agency that regulates businesses large and small.
• Experience – Alderman Moore does not have experience running an organization as large as IEPA. An Alderman typically has three to five staff to manage with a small office budget. The IEPA has more than 800 employees and an annual budget of more than $300 million. Unlike previous IEPA Directors who have all been well versed in the state’s Environmental laws, Alderman Moore’s only environmental experience appears to be advocating for the Chicago Clean Power Ordinance and work with the National League of Cities’ committee on land, air and water.
* Ald. Moore’s reaction…
“I think they ignore the fact if you look at entirety of my record as a public official I take a very balanced approach,” Moore said.
Moore defended the Clean Power Ordinance, saying emissions from the power plants affect every ward in Chicago.
“There have been documented adverse health effects. The emissions from those power plants are carried throughout the city of Chicago and the region. … I think that’s really what this is all about. It’s not about my qualifications.” […]
“I think they have very little to worry about,” he said. “I think political experience is also very important. You need to work well with the state legislature. As a legislator myself, I understand the importance of that.”
The Illinois Chamber, the Manufacturers, the NFIB, the Pork Producers, Chemical Industry Council, Petroleum Marketers and others signed the letter.