New Illinois Governor Restores Natural Resources Funding
New Illinois Governor Pat Quinn began addressing the damage done to the state's natural resources under the Blagojevich administration. The Governor requested Pheasants Forever (PF) and Quail Forever's (QF) attendance at a press conference where he signed Senate Bill 1132, which returned $9.25 million to six dedicated sportsmen accounts. At the same event, Governor Quinn named Marc Miller as the new director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever commend the legislature and new Governor for acting together to restore dedicated sportsmen's funding," said Aaron Kuehl, PF/QF Director of Conservation for Illinois. Kuehl represented PF/QF at today's press conference and has been working on behalf of PF/QF's 8,700 members in the state since the sweeps occurred.
Last autumn, then-Governor Blagojevich swept $221 million from the state's budget, including $9.25 million in restricted funds. Those restricted funds were also connected to $16 million in federal dollars, which would have been lost had Governor Quinn not signed SB 1132. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service had given the state a February 1st deadline to return the swept funds. Under the Blagojevich administration, the DNR's budget had been cleaved from $130 million to $60 in just six years.
In addition to the restored funding, Miller's appointment to the director's post signals Governor Quinn's dedication to supporting conservation in Illinois. Miller looks to be a strong choice for outdoors enthusiasts across the state and should provide leadership the DNR has lacked for a considerable amount of time.
"I'm pleased to see the natural resource background and credentials of our new director. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever chapters across the state look forward to working with Director Miller and the entire DNR to restore the proud traditions of conservation, hunting, and angling to Illinois," added Kuehl.
Illinois is home to 45 PF chapters and 17 QF chapters, accounting for 8,700 total members in the state. Those chapters have spent more than $9.3 million to complete over 27,900 habitat projects since the first Illinois PF chapter was formed in 1985. Those projects have benefited more than 261,000 acres for wildlife.
Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever are non-profit conservation organizations dedicated to the protection and enhancement of pheasant, quail, and other wildlife populations in North America through habitat improvement, land management, public awareness, and education. PF/QF has more than 130,000 members in 700 local chapters across the continent. To join, log onto www.PheasantsForever.org or www.QuailForever.org.