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Howard Learner
Howard A. Learner is an experienced attorney serving as the President and Executive Director of the Environmental Law and Policy Center. Mr. Learner is responsible for the overall strategic policy direction, development and leadership of this public interest organization. Before founding ELPC, he was the General Counsel of Business and Professional People for the Public Interest, a public interest law center, specializing in complex civil litigation and policy development. Mr. Learner is an Adjunct Professor at Northwestern University Law School, teaching an advanced environmental law seminar. J.D., Harvard Law School, 1980; B.A., Political Science, University of Michigan, 1976.

Entries by Howard Learner

Earth Day Scorecard for a Greener Chicago

(0) Comments | Posted April 22, 2016 | 10:26 AM

Chicago is becoming a "greener city," but let's recognize some key challenges and the need for solutions moving forward. Environmental progress is being achieved together with job creation and economic development. The old myth about jobs versus the environment is simply that: old and false. This Earth Day, we should...

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The Clean Power Plan Gets Fresh Air

(0) Comments | Posted February 16, 2016 | 5:09 PM

As a public interest attorney and law professor, I've admired Justice Antonin Scalia's strong intellect and passion even if I don't share his legal philosophy and sometimes think that his "vivid" writing style is neither civil nor constructive for the courts. As a compassionate person, I join with others in...

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Game-changing Quiet Revolution in Midwest Energy Efficiency

(0) Comments | Posted March 7, 2014 | 2:46 PM

In the overheated Capitol Hill politics, even energy efficiency is controversial. The bipartisan team of Senators Shaheen and Portman unfortunately face considerable hurdles in their common sense efforts to advance focused energy efficiency legislation.

By contrast, in the Midwest Heartland, there is a quiet revolution as game changing energy efficiency...

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New Illinois Priorities: Quiet Transportation Revolution in Car Use

(0) Comments | Posted January 27, 2014 | 12:41 PM

There's a quiet revolution in car use, driving patterns and car technologies that fundamentally will change transportation needs, infrastructure investments and traditional financing structures. As gas tax revenues decline, we need to prioritize better and make smart choices.

Let's prioritize transit and rail, which are gaining passengers, and "fix it...

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Bending the Global Temperature Rise Arc

(9) Comments | Posted July 3, 2013 | 10:19 AM

The OECD's International Energy Agency (IEA) recent report focuses on the question of what to do about climate change realities.

IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven explains: "We recently passed a grim milestone with the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere topping 400 parts per million...

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Turning Point: President Obama's Climate Action Leadership

(1) Comments | Posted June 28, 2013 | 9:34 AM

President Obama's comprehensive Climate Action Plan is a turning point for the United States and global leadership on climate change solutions. The president is stepping up now with multifaceted executive actions to directly reduce carbon pollution and accelerate renewable energy, energy efficiency and clean vehicle solutions. The president's message advances...

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Two Iowa Energy Headlines That Say a Lot About the Electricity Market and Policy Changes

(10) Comments | Posted June 9, 2013 | 6:38 PM

"MidAmerican Decides Against Iowa Nuclear Plant," Des Moines Register, June 3, 2013.

"MidAmerican Energy to Invest $1.9 Billion Building 1,050 MW of New Wind Power Projects in Iowa," Des Moines Register, May 8, 2013

This is the impact of public policy shifts, the prevailing electricity market economics and the prevailing...

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Climate Change Solutions That Advance Illinois' Economy and Environment Together

(13) Comments | Posted March 11, 2013 | 10:42 AM

President Barack Obama emphasized advancing climate change and clean energy solutions as a second-term priority. Illinois' energy and transportation sectors are the center of the nation's problems, but can be the largest part of solutions.

Let's recognize Chicago's and Illinois' progress on achieving positive climate change solutions with clean...

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Watch Out for the Republican Super PACs Moving Away from Romney to Rain Even More Millions on Swing Senate Races

(0) Comments | Posted September 24, 2012 | 5:01 PM

By most polling analysts' accounts, if the Presidential election were held today, President Obama would win by a robust electoral vote margin. Of course, the election isn't being held today and much can happen between now and November 6th to change the dynamics of this pivotal election. But . ....

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This Earth Day: Jobs, Environment and Economic Growth Together

(1) Comments | Posted April 23, 2012 | 5:37 PM

Earth Day 1970 sounded an alarm. It launched the modern environmental movement, bringing cleaner air that's healthier to breathe, cleaner water that's safer to drink and enjoy for recreation, and fewer dangerous toxics in our communities. Today, the growing green economy is helping to drive the Midwest's and our nation's...

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Mercury Pollution Reduction Standards Protect Children's Health and the Great Lakes

(4) Comments | Posted January 3, 2012 | 2:06 PM

As we begin this new year, let's recognize an important long-delayed success finalized by the Obama Administration in late 2011.

On December 21st, the U.S. EPA announced the first-ever national standards to reduce mercury, arsenic, cadmium and other toxic air pollutants from coal plants by requiring installation of...

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The Supreme Court's AEP Decision: Snatching Climate Change Solutions Victory from the Jaws of Defeat

(6) Comments | Posted June 28, 2011 | 5:27 PM

In today's politically polarized environment, legislative and judicial actions tend to be characterized as either stunning victories or crushing defeats. The media reporting and hyperbolic press releases on the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in American Electric Power, et al. v. Connecticut, et al. (AEP) involving actions to...

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Florida Governor Scott Puts Short-Sighted Partisan Politics Above Peoples' Transportation Needs and Job Creation

(6) Comments | Posted February 22, 2011 | 3:54 PM

Last week, Florida Governor Rick Scott rejected $2.4 billion in federal funds to build a modern passenger rail line between Orlando and Tampa that would have created jobs and supercharged Florida's tourism industry. Instead, he placed short-sighted partisan politics above people's transportation needs and job creation. Governor Scott's apparent motivations...

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BP/Enbridge Lessons: Electric Vehicle Solutions That Reduce Oil Dependence, Reduce Pollution, Create Jobs and Boost the Midwest's Economy

(0) Comments | Posted August 21, 2010 | 12:33 PM

The BP and Enbridge oil spill disasters reminded everyone of the dangers from our addiction to oil. Most Americans are looking for cleaner and safer ways to power our cars and heat our homes. The good news is that shifting to cleaner cars and trucks can create new jobs, improve...

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Strategies for Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles Leading to Less Pollution

(42) Comments | Posted April 5, 2010 | 9:11 AM

Many of us are excited by the new plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) coming into the market later this year. They're cool, high-tech and use less gasoline from countries that don't like us very much and threaten America's national security. They're a big winner for reducing pollution in the targeted markets....

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Modern High-Speed Rail Is a Winner for the Public -- and It's About More Than "Just Speed"

(2) Comments | Posted February 8, 2010 | 11:48 AM

Investing in modern, fast, comfortable and convenient higher-speed rail service is a smart move. Better rail service will improve mobility, reduce pollution, create new jobs and spur economic growth.

The new federal investment is about more than "just speed" to succeed. "Modern, comfortable and convenient" count as much as...

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Advancing Modern Transportation Opportunities and Solutions for Rural Communities

(8) Comments | Posted January 9, 2010 | 2:40 PM

Rural transportation has traditionally meant cars and pickups, highways and Greyhound buses. While the intercity buses are fewer and farther between, however, that doesn't change people's needs to get from place to place. Most people have cars and trucks, but some elderly or disabled people can no longer drive easily....

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Solar Is Coming to Town -- Price Shifts, Market Changes And Policy Opportunities to Grow the Midwest's Green Economy

(6) Comments | Posted October 27, 2009 | 4:47 PM

The confluence of multiple economic and policy factors creates a huge strategic opportunity to advance solar power installations in the Midwest. This window of opportunity will likely be open for about two years while solar photovoltaic (PV) module prices are very low due to excess global supply. Soon after, hoped-for...

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Midwest High-Speed Rail Development: On the Fast Track

(7) Comments | Posted August 31, 2009 | 12:12 PM

The world has changed. Just a few years ago, many people thought that high-speed rail development here was just a dream. Now, it's moving to reality. President Obama has made high-speed rail development his #1 national transportation priority fifty years after President Eisenhower advanced the build-out of the nation's interstate...

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Gearing Up to Advance the Green Economy

(0) Comments | Posted November 17, 2008 | 9:40 AM

It's time to gear up to seize the opportunities to advance a greener economy and cleaner environment with the new Administration and new Congress. The Midwest and Great Plains states can become business and economic winners in growing the new green economy as discussed in previous blog posts. Moreover, when...

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