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WTO Legal Impacts On Commodity Subsidies: Green Box Opportunities in the Farm Bill for Farm Income Through the Conservation and Clean Energy Development Programs

July 1, 2004

Report finds that the WTO legal ruling on commodity subsidies may provide opportunity to gain support for farm-based natural resources conservation and clean energy development programs. The focus of the analysis is whether conservation and renewable energy and energy efficiency payments to U.S. farmers are "green box" programs and thus exempt from reductions on agricultural subsidies that the United States and other countries have agreed to as part of an effort to reduce aggregate levels of so-called "amber box" subsidies. Stated slightly differently: Does it matter for the purposes of international law and WTO-related international commitments what proportion of the total United States government subsidies are paid to farmers in the form of conservation and renewable energy and energy efficiency payments, as opposed to the many other forms of farm subsidies, especially commodity payments, that are used by the United States government? The short answer is "yes."

Community Wind Financing Handbook

June 1, 2004

The goal of this handbook is to identify critical financing issues and present several possible financing models that reflect the differing financial positions and investment goals of various project owners/developers. The handbook includes six sections: -- Section I describes various models for community wind power ownership. -- Section II examines sources of equity and debt financing and the steps necessary to secure this financing. -- Section III identifies federal grant and loan programs and state incentives for wind power development. -- Section IV reviews the federal tax incentives supporting wind power projects, the impact of these incentives on project economics, and limitations on utilizing these incentives. -- Section V examines power purchase agreements and the value of green tags to community wind power projects. -- The Appendix contains a list of operating community wind projects in the United States and a list of project consultants and financing resources. Principal author: Charles Kubert, Environmental Business Specialist, with assistance from Howard Learner, Executive Director, Jill Geiger, Director of Communications and Marketing, and Rebecca Stamey-White, Policy Associate

Midwest/Great Plains Wind Power Project Map

May 1, 2004

Illustrates the existing and planned wind power projects across the Midwest, including projects from the MISO, PJM, and SPP project queues. Overall, approximately 1,439 MW of wind power projects are now operating in the Midwest, with at least 11,759 MW of projects currently planned for construction. Includes location (state, county); name of project; capacity (in megawatts); and developer/owner information. It can be used by clean energy and rural development advocates to reach out to policymakers and businesses.

Illinois Water Quality and the Clean Water Act

October 1, 2003

This report contains the conclusions of a study performed by the Environmental Law and Policy Center of the Midwest ("ELPC") on the water quality of Illinois' rivers, lakes and streams, and Illinois' implementation of the Clean Water Act. The Lumpkin Foundation of Mattoon, Illinois provided funding for the study. Because the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency ("IEPA") is responsible for implementing the Clean Water Act in Illinois and for preparing most of the key reports relating to Illinois water quality, our research necessarily focused on the work of that agency. ELPC studied the publicly available IEPA data on a number of key indicators of water quality and the strength of a number of elements of IEPA's water pollution control efforts. Within the resources available for this study, ELPC also looked, for comparison purposes, at data from federal agencies and selected data collected by pollution control agencies of other states. Further, ELPC conducted interviews with federal and state officials and others with knowledge relating to the relative strengths and weaknesses of the Illinois water quality program. The study considered the following areas: Illinois Water Quality; Amount and Kind of Water Quality Data Collected; Strength of Water Quality Standards; Adequacy of Permit Conditions For Preventing Violations of Water Quality Standards; Permit Enforcement; Illinois' Stormwater and Combined Sewer Overflow Programs; Illinois' Non-Point Source Programs. Project Team: Howard Learner, Executive Director; Ann Alexander, Staff Attorney; Faith Bugel, Staff Attorney; Albert Ettinger, Senior Staff Attorney*; Shannon Fisk, Staff Attorney. * Principal Author

Breakin' the Heart of It All: How ODOT subverts the NEPA Environmental Review Process and Damage Ohio's Environment and Communities

October 1, 2002

Report includes five case studies where the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) avoided serious environmental review for major highway corridors, including U.S. 30 across most of the State, and interstates and other highways connecting the State's major metropolitan areas. In every case ODOT segmented lengthy highway projects into smaller pieces, thereby more easily justifying decisions -- approved by Federal authories -- not to perform the detailed environmental review otherwise required by National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The five road projects discussed include: U.S. Route 30 across Ohio; Interstate 71 between Cleveland and Columbus; U.S. Route 24 in Northwestern Ohio; U.S. Route 33 Southeast of Columbus; State Routs 161, 37 and 16 from New Albany to Muskingum County.

Job Jolt: The Economic Impacts of Repowering the Midwest:

October 1, 2002

Implementing the Repowering the Midwest Clean Energy Development Plan would create more than 200,000 new jobs across the 10-state Midwest region by 2020, up to $5.5 billion in additional worker income, and up to $20 billion in increased economic activity. Repowering the Midwest's Clean Energy Development Plan promotes modern, energy efficient technologies and development of renewable energy resources, especially wind power and biomass energy. This plan contrasts with a business-as-usual scenario, which relies almost entirely on polluting coal and nuclear power plants for electricty generation. This huge resulting Job Jolt is the central finding of a comprehensive study of the economic impacts of phasing in more clean energy efficient technologies and renewable energy development across the Midwest and Great Plains. The Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (REAL), a nationally renowned research center of the University of Illinois, used its modeling techniques to determine the economic impacts of implementing the clean energy development plan proposed by the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC) and its Midwest partners.

Repowering the Midwest: The Clean Energy Development Plan for the Heartland

February 1, 2001

Repowering the Midwest is a blueprint for producing economically robust and environmentally sound electricity in the 21st century by comparing two possible energy futures for the Midwest - one in which we continue to rely on conventional, or business-as-usual technologies, and a second in which the Midwest unleashes its homegrown clean energy development potential. This Clean Energy Development Plan quantifies the region's untapped energy efficiency and renewable resources and lays out strategies, policies and practices to advance a cleaner electricity future from the industrial Midwest across to the Great Plains. Visit the "Repowering the Midwest" website for additional information (

Crossroads II: Marshall Report 996

June 1, 1999

Lake County, Illinois is already experiencing a traffic congestion problem. By the year 2020, when its population is projected to increase by at least 250,000, traffic congestion will likely be significantly worse. This report is the second installment in a study called "Crossroads: Smart Transportation Options for Lake County", which is commissioned by the Environmental Law and Policy Center and Citizens Organized for Sound Transportation. The study is carried out by Resource Systems Group, Inc. and the University of Illinois at Chicago. It uses advanced transportation modeling to examine the impact of various possible transportation improvements on traffic congestion levels in Lake County. The first installment of Crossroads, released in 1997, demonstrated that the State could relieve traffic congestion levels in the year 2020 14% more by simply carrying out the existing plan to upgrade local roads in Lake County than by building the proposed new $1.2 billion Route 53 tollroad. In other words, building a 25-mile, six-lane extension to Route 53 would increase traffic congestion by 14%. In this second installment, we now examine the impact of proposed transit improvements on Lake County traffic congestion levels. We tested a package of transit improvements that are, again, included in the State's official transportation plan. They include installing a second track on the Wisconsin North Central commuter rail line, building a portion of the Elgin Joliet and Eastern circumferential commuter rail line, and increasing bus service.

The Visions Project: Choosing a Future for Growing Communities

January 1, 1999

Project literally draws a picture of what the future would look like in four different areas of the Chicago-area region, depending on how growth occurs. The Visions Project marks the Chicago-area debut of a planning technique pioneered by Dodson Associates, a Massachusetts-based landscape architecture firm. The technique involves the creation of drawings that depict the development styles typically associated with various land-use decisions. As a result, people can foresee how the landscape they will inhabit in the future is shaped by the policies they adopt today. Visions was launched in three semirural locations of the metropolitan area where formidable development pressures loom: Will County (the Village of New Lenox) to the south; unincorporated Kane County to the west; Lake County (Fremont Township) to the north; Chicago's West Garfield Park neighborhood which seeks the kind of economic recovery that has already transformed the near West Side.