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Big biz blasts enviro pick

Wednesday, Feb 8, 2012

* 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.

Thoughts?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

26 Comments
  1. - Louie - Wednesday, Feb 8, 12 @ 10:00 am:

    Looks like Joe Moore will fit right in with the Springfield folks.


  2. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Feb 8, 12 @ 10:07 am:

    Joe Moore - the Unity Candidate.


  3. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 8, 12 @ 10:11 am:

    Moore wanted attention and now he has it.


  4. - Steve Bartin - Wednesday, Feb 8, 12 @ 10:11 am:

    Joe Moore is firmly within the mainstream of the Illinois Democrat party. He’s for higher taxes, more government regulation , and limiting consumer choice. How is Joe Moore ideologically different than the rest of the Illinois Democrat party? These business groups can oppose him all the want but someone will get the job with Joe Moore’s views: you can count on that.


  5. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, Feb 8, 12 @ 10:13 am:

    I know I’ve been blasted in the past for advocating that non-partisan professionals run agencies like IDOT and Public Health. But I think the Governor should have leeway on appointees for agencies that would “push” a sitting governor’s agenda. In this example, Quinn is obviously a pro-environment guy. Would anyone expect him to hire the former head of Peabody Coal or the Conoco-Phillips refinery in Wood River? If Bill Brady had been elected, would anyone have expected him to name the head of the Illinois Sierra Club branch as head of the IEPA? I doubt it. Illinois has a pretty wide open lobbying history/policy, so if the biz groups are that upset, spend some cash and bulk up your lobbying efforts. It’s that simple.


  6. - Judgment Day - Wednesday, Feb 8, 12 @ 10:16 am:

    IEPA has already been handed a whole load of ‘enhanced’ federal regulations to be enforced, and they has done a pretty fair job of making a hash of the implementation for the new expanded regs.

    So, now we’re going to ‘improve’ the situation by putting Chicago Ald. Joe Moore in charge of the entire process.

    It’s rarely a good thing when a political ideologue of any political persuasion is put in charge of an administrative agency, particularly a “hot button” agency.


  7. - Anon - Wednesday, Feb 8, 12 @ 10:18 am:

    So he wanted to regulate green house gas emissions, opposed the use of harmful chemicals, pay workers a living wage and some of the states biggest polluters are opposing his nomination?

    Seals the deal for me.


  8. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Feb 8, 12 @ 10:19 am:

    Joe Moore was/is the only Alderman who wanted a high profile, while keeping a low profile. The only member who would be attracted to the TV cameras like a moth, and would wilt just as fast infront of them … He is a mess.


  9. - No More AJ Wilhelmi - Wednesday, Feb 8, 12 @ 10:23 am:

    Does IEPA have the authority to shut down restaurants serving foie gras?


  10. - Kasich Walker, Jr. - Wednesday, Feb 8, 12 @ 10:26 am:

    I don’t know if Moore would be a good choice or not, but it’s not as if business groups opposing him would support a leading conservation advocate with a background in scientific research or seek a list of possible appointees from U of C-Berkley’s Tyrone Hayes.

    “…Alderman showed his willingness to undercut an IEPA-negotiated agreement, create uncertainty in the regulatory process,..”

    How can parties on all sides keep their stories straight? How can we be sure we’ll get what we all agreed on?

    “…use of plastics, pesticides, fertilizers, and genetically modified (GMO) foods…Regardless of your own position on these issues, it should be generally recognized that the Chicago City Council is not the proper forum.”

    Voters can write a letter to the AG or hire KMAC.

    “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………”

    Everyone knows it’s the consumers who control the market, not the biggest corporation & importer in the world! Legislators, just make sure the cameras work, prevent ballot access, & disrupt organization

    “An Alderman typically has three to five staff to manage with a small office budget. The IEPA has more than 800 employees ”

    You can’t give a guy like Moore a department, at least not without further cutting the IEPA & reigning in its authority.


  11. - Bill - Wednesday, Feb 8, 12 @ 10:26 am:

    That fact that these trade groups representing the biggest polluters in Illinois are against Moore is the best reason to appoint him. Anybody these groups “approve of” isn’t going to do the job.


  12. - Judgment Day - Wednesday, Feb 8, 12 @ 10:36 am:

    “So he wanted to regulate green house gas emissions, opposed the use of harmful chemicals, pay workers a living wage and some of the states biggest polluters are opposing his nomination?”

    Well, I’m sure that’s great from your standpoint. But here’s the real issue…

    The above isn’t really what the job entails…

    It’s mundane stuff like somehow figuring out what’s going to be worked on, and what’s going to have to slide, because there isn’t sufficient funding even for what’s on IEPA’s plate today, and the piggy bank is empty.

    It’s busting the chops of all the municipalities over potable water because there’s always somebody in each particular locale who didn’t have a backflow preventer on their lawn sprinkler system, or aren’t current on their annual inspections.

    Or parking lot/roof water runoff retention and treatment issues…

    Or proper placement of larvacide in water retention ponds….

    And a thousand more like that….


  13. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Feb 8, 12 @ 10:39 am:

    Agree with Bill, though I’m slightly worried about another possible “Fois Gras” moment.


  14. - BelleAire - Wednesday, Feb 8, 12 @ 10:40 am:

    Agree with Bill and Anon 10:18 on this. At times, Moore was a yin to Daley’s yang and the Big Box Ordinance is a perfect example of that. I find large, boxy stores to be physically intrusive in the city-scape and part of the problem with the US ecconomy.
    Wasn’t Manny Flores nominated for the IL Commerce Commission and no one griped about his stance against BPA?
    I’m not a fan of Moore, his stance against foie gras was a bit crazy but what’s the possiblity that he might be able to do some good in the role?


  15. - Cheryl44 - Wednesday, Feb 8, 12 @ 10:41 am:

    I’d rather have Joe Moore there than anyone these people would come up with.


  16. - Downstate Illinois - Wednesday, Feb 8, 12 @ 11:09 am:

    He sounds like a left-wing loon. Put someone in charge of the EPA that’s competent. Of course that would be good advice for state government in general.


  17. - Abby Normal - Wednesday, Feb 8, 12 @ 11:17 am:

    The fact that he has no real environmental experience or training is a real problem. This field is very complex both scientifically and legally.


  18. - Don't Worry, Be Happy - Wednesday, Feb 8, 12 @ 11:17 am:

    I’m having difficulty thinking of similar instance where groups attacked a nominee before the nomination was even made. Unless I’m just blanking, I have to say that this tactic seems pretty irregular.

    Then again, I also can’t remember someone lobbying the Senate for approval of their nomination before that nomination was actually made, so maybe all’s fair…


  19. - amalia - Wednesday, Feb 8, 12 @ 11:20 am:

    so interesting to see someone who has not yet been nominated trying to get confirmed!


  20. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Feb 8, 12 @ 11:26 am:

    Unfortunately, Joe Moore is my alderman. Frankly, his leaving that job is the best thing that could happen for the ward. He has never done the nuts-and-bolts tasks that an aldermanic function requires because he has been seeking a path to higher office for years now. He does not have the admininstrative skills to perform the IEPA director job. He would be a disaster for the agency.

    That said, looking at the credentials of Quinn’s appointments, he has a great chance of geting the job.


  21. - Roscoe Tom - Wednesday, Feb 8, 12 @ 2:08 pm:

    Moore wants it all. His dufus unqualified wife as alderman, his pension & a new state job with another pension. While he support candidates not endorsed by the party but then wants and needs party support. One hypocrite about to crash and burn.


  22. - Shemp - Wednesday, Feb 8, 12 @ 3:47 pm:

    We’re talking about running the IEPA and several of you have no concern that he has no qualifications or experience in the field? You don’t have to be a appointed (or annointed) by business groups to be qualified. There are a number of good people in the IEPA and our region of the USEPA that are more than qualified. However, they are busy trying to stretch EPA funds to do the most and aren’t longtime bff’s with the governor.

    Defending political appointments as a right of the governor or supporting it because it’s a (deserving) tradition is sickening. There are thousands of cleanup sites across the state that need a competent IEPA to help address. You want Illinois to be great, let’s expect great.


  23. - Shemp - Wednesday, Feb 8, 12 @ 3:49 pm:

    And by the way, it’s not just big businesses/interests that are opposed. I first heard the concern from environmental attorneys and consultants and the concern has spread to local governments trying to work to clean up sites all across the State.


  24. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Feb 8, 12 @ 4:21 pm:

    Joe Moore is not a bad guy. I worked on his first camapaign for alderman (49th) in 1991. I have not always agreed with his positions regarding public policy, but he has always been willing to listen. Give the guy a chance!!! He is smart.


  25. - Shemp - Wednesday, Feb 8, 12 @ 4:30 pm:

    @Anon 4:21pm….

    Again, when there are EXPERIENCED and well qualified people within the IEPA and USEPA ranks (and even in the enviro community, yes even lawyers), why are we as citizens of Illinois supposed to give a chance to a political appointee with no experience in environmental regs/clean-up/epa etc. just because he’s willing to listen? Ugh.

    This isn’t the hair braid licensing bureau or county dog catcher we’re talking about.


  26. - 1776 - Wednesday, Feb 8, 12 @ 5:24 pm:

    The business groups are not opposed to any candidate and don’t expect to get “their person.” They want a competent and qualified person and would be delighted with either of the previous acting Directors - Lisa Bonnet and John Kim - who have been hardworking EPA employees for years.

    EPA directors for the most part have had a good working relationship with the business community until Rod came around. It’s gotten better under Quinn including Doug Scott.

    So its not “NO” to anybody - just Joe Moore.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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