Updated: April 13, 2013 6:43AM
First lady Michelle Obama was in Chicago recently to promote the national “Let’s Move” fitness campaign, and I applaud her efforts to reduce childhood obesity. Through her leadership and the continued partnership of government, business and the community, we have made and will continue to make great strides in advancing the health of children across the nation.
The beverage industry in Illinois and throughout the country is committed to the health of our nation’s children. When the first lady launched the “Let’s Move” campaign in February 2010, America’s beverage companies were eager to get involved, introducing the “Clear on Calories” initiative to support her efforts.
You may have noticed that a calorie label is now on the front of all cans, bottles and packages. This initiative has enhanced consumer access to information and enabled consumers to personalize their beverage choice.
The American Beverage Association and its member companies have encouraged healthier choices by reducing beverage calories shipped to schools by 90 percent and decreasing soft drink advertising aimed at children by 96 percent.
I commend the first lady for bringing the health of our children to the forefront of public discussion. These are initiatives that people from all industries and organizations can support.
Illinois Beverage Association
A foe of fracking
From depleting fresh water resources to generating toxic, chemical-laden wastewater of which we can’t safely dispose, drilling and fracking for natural gas unnecessarily threatens our collective health and future.
It pollutes our water and air, endangers public health and contributes to climate change. It should not be allowed in Illinois.
HB 2615 is a weak regulatory bill that essentially provides a road map for the oil and gas industry to frack our state. It is the product of exclusive negotiations between industry and a small number of organizations, excluding from the process grass-roots groups that have been working to protect their communities from fracking.
The bill does not allow communities affected by fracking to regulate the practice at the county level, and it provides only minor and insufficient protections for fracking near schools, water sources and other critical areas. Moreover, it withholds from the public information about toxic fracking chemicals.
Drilling and fracking to extract natural gas has caused contamination of drinking water, air pollution, accidents and dangerous explosions in states across the country, among other issues.
Why should we settle for this in Illinois? Gov. Pat Quinn and the Legislature have to stand up for Illinoisans. Rather than this weak bill, they should instead support a long-term moratorium or a full ban on fracking.
Midwest region director
Food and Water Watch