Illinois Sen. Roland Burris has been out of the limelight for a while, which probably is OK with him, as much of the attention after his senatorial appointment by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich wasn't all that favorable.
But Environment Illinois volunteers and staff members didn't want him off the radar completely, which is one reason why they were standing out in the rain and waving placards Tuesday morning at a South Loop BP gasoline station.
Environment Illinois, along with some other green groups around the nation, is worried about a pending amendment introduced by U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) that would block new rules requiring cars and light trucks to use less oil. The Senate is scheduled to vote Thursday on the amendment, which would reject the EPA's ruling that greenhouse gases are hazardous to the public. That ruling is the basis for the EPA's authority to control the gases.
Max Muller, program director of Environment Illinois, said he expects the vote to be close. A new analysis released by the group indicates the amendment would increase Illinois' dependence on oil by more than 17 million gallons in 2016.
Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin is solidly opposed to the amendment. But Environment Illinois worried that although Burris' staff had indicated he'd vote against it, the senator hadn't publicly stated his opposition.
That changed Tuesday afternoon, when Burris spokesman Jim O'Connor said Burris is "solidly against" the amendment and will vote against it.
Presumably, Environment Illinois will think it was worth standing in the rain to hear that.
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