Media Releases

Release: Consumer groups, health experts call for changes to accelerated drug approval in FDA reform bill

Health care

Release: Consumer groups, health experts call for changes to accelerated drug approval in FDA reform bill

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee will mark up a discussion draft on the Food and Drug Administration’s user fee legislation next week. In response, U.S. PIRG joined over 35 health experts and other advocacy groups in a letter released on Friday recommending stronger enforcement of post-market clinical trials for accelerated approval drugs to better protect patients.

Media Releases  

EPA opens applications, announces guidelines for $5 billion Clean School Bus Program

Electric vehicles

EPA opens applications, announces guidelines for $5 billion Clean School Bus Program

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is unveiling its historic, $5 billion Clean School Bus Program on Friday. This new program, created by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed into law by President Joe Biden last November, will help school districts replace polluting diesel buses with zero-tailpipe-emission, electric school buses.

Media Releases  

Chicagoans paid 43% more for home heating this winter

Consumer alerts

Chicagoans paid 43% more for home heating this winter

goans paid 43% more to heat their homes this past winter compared to the year before, a result of surging gas prices and the expensive Peoples Gas pipe replacement program, according to a new report released on Friday. While higher gas prices played the largest role in the year-over-year spike in bills, the pipe replacement program has been slowly raising home heating bills for years. For example, over the first three months of 2022, the average Peoples Gas customer paid just under $40 for the pipe replacement program through a surcharge on bills. Over the same period in 2018, average customers paid $16 for the surcharge.

Media Releases  

Auto insurance industry attempts to quash disclosure of windfall profits during COVID-19 pandemic

Consumer alerts

Auto insurance industry attempts to quash disclosure of windfall profits during COVID-19 pandemic

The auto insurance industry is attempting to block the publication of data documenting its windfall profits in Illinois during the early waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the risks associated with driving plummeted but auto insurers did not lower premiums or offer rebates in proportion to the reduction in risk. In a letter sent last week to the Illinois Department of Insurance, three auto insurance associations challenged the Department’s March  call for information documenting insurer profits, losses, and refunds given to consumers between 2019 and 2021. Consumer advocates estimate that auto insurers overcharged Illinois drivers by about $900 million in 2020.

Media Releases  

Consumer advocacy groups launch campaign to get Columbia Sportswear to phase out toxic ‘forever chemicals’

Toxic threats

Consumer advocacy groups launch campaign to get Columbia Sportswear to phase out toxic ‘forever chemicals’

  U.S. PIRG Education Fund and NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) launched a campaign on Tuesday calling on outdoor gear and apparel brand Columbia Sportswear to phase out the use of PFAS in its products and supply chains. Last month, the company received low marks in a scorecard report released by the advocacy groups. The report found that Columbia Sportswear has failed to adopt policies that ban PFAS chemicals or provide up-to-date, publicly available information on any ongoing efforts to phase out these toxic chemicals from their products.

Media Releases  

ComEd proposes nearly $200 million rate hike

Utility watchdog

ComEd proposes nearly $200 million rate hike

ComEd filed its 2022 Formula Rate Update on Friday that proposed a $199 million rate increase for customers starting in 2023. The proposed rate hike would raise average bills by $2.20 per month. If approved, ComEd will have raised delivery rates by $960 million since 2012. The proposed rate hike would allow ComEd to make a guaranteed $825 million in profits in 2023.

Media Releases  

IDOA rules would ignore damage caused by volatile, drifting pesticide

Pesticides

IDOA rules would ignore damage caused by volatile, drifting pesticide

The Illinois Department of Agriculture announced on Wednesday the release of permanent rules regulating the use of dicamba, a volatile, toxic pesticide, on soybeans grown in the state. The new rules, first implemented last year and now made permanent, prohibit the application of dicamba on soybeans above certain temperatures and wind speeds, factors that can contribute to greater drift incidents. After implementing similar rules last year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found no reduction in dicamba drift complaints.

Media Releases  

Interactive map shows widespread lead contamination in schools drinking water

Toxic threats

Interactive map shows widespread lead contamination in schools drinking water

Lead contamination of school drinking water is more pervasive than previously thought, according to testing data from across the nation published on Thursday by Environment America Research & Policy Center and U.S. PIRG Education Fund on a new interactive map. The groups urged public officials to take swift action to “get the lead out” of schools’ drinking water.

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