Environmental Almanac: Bill would beef up fracking regulations

Say, for the moment, you're an Illinoisan who owns property under which rests a viable source of shale gas. That's the type of natural gas that's become economically viable in recent years, thanks to developments in processes and technology for high-pressure hydraulic fracturing, aka fracking. And say you're gung-ho to get your gas out of the ground and onto the market.

Wind farm complaints prompt review of rules

HOPE — Michael Creech had planned to retire at the family homestead, a two-story farmhouse among square miles of farmland east of Hope in western Vermilion County.

Sadorus plans for water treatment

SADORUS — The village is making plans to begin treating its water system, which has been pumping out water that residents complain tastes and smells bad.

Kerry Gifford, general manager at Sangamon Valley Public Water District, which runs the village's water system, recommended improvements to both infrastructure and treatment.

Updated: Homer board to vote again on water for Sunrise Coal

Updated 7:39 p.m. Friday.

HOMER — One village board member is reconsidering last month's no vote that helped defeat a proposal to sell treated water and sewer services to Sunrise Coal.

So, the village board now plans to reconsider its proposed agreement with Sunrise on Monday night, according to Homer Mayor David Lucas.

Environmental grants available

BELLEVILLE — Monday is the deadline for applying for Illinois American Water environmental grants.

The company awards grants of up to $10,000 to support activities such as watershed cleanups, reforestation, biodiversity projects, wellhead protection initiatives and hazardous-waste collection efforts.

ICC asks Sidney to expand on objection to Ameren project

SIDNEY — The Illinois Commerce Commission wants Sidney officials to further explain their objection to Ameren Transmission Co.'s Illinois Rivers Transmission Project.

Turbine blade breaks caused by isolated issue, manufacturer says

ARMSTRONG — An "isolated manufacturing issue" caused two wind turbines in East Central Illinois to break last year, the manufacturer of the towers said Monday.

Environmental Almanac: Studying tiny creatures to answer big questions

For most people, I suspect, the word Daphnia brings to mind no clear picture.

South Side students make art from bottle caps as part of Hatch

CHAMPAIGN — The whir of drills and the clacking of countless plastic bottle caps filled the air of the gym at South Side Elementary on Friday.

The school's students took turns sorting through different styles and shades of bottle caps as they worked to make a mural featuring some fifth-grade students' drawing of the school's mascot, the South Side Superstar.

Vermilion to hear concerns on wind turbine ordinance

DANVILLE — In response to a request for a moratorium on any new wind farm construction, Vermilion County Board members decided Thursday night to schedule a public hearing, giving local residents the chance to voice any concerns they might have with the county's current wind turbine ordinance, particularly setback distances.