Gov. Pat Quinn has been considering appointing 49th Ward Ald. Joe Moore to head the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. Moore is the lead sponsor of the Chicago Clean Power Ordinance, which would require two Southwest Side generating plants to switch from coal to natural gas or shut down. He also sponsored the Big Box ordinance, which would have required retailers such as Walmart and Target to pay their employees a living wage. The ordinance passed the council, but was killed by a mayoral veto.
Big business really, really does not like Joe Moore. In what Springfield's State Journal-Register calls “a highly unusual move,” a coalition of business lobbying groups has sent a letter to Quinn and all 59 state senators, urging them to reject Moore.
The letter cites the Clean Power Ordinance, which “singled[d] out specific plants for specific regulations in an effort to treat them differently”; the foie gras ban, characterized as grandstanding unsuited for “an administrative position best done outside the limelight”; and the Big Box Ordinance, saying that “[h]is belief in this kind of government intervention in the market
while denying consumers access to retail opportunities gives businesses leaders great pause as to how he would run an agency that regulates businesses large and small.”
The letter was signed by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, the Tooling and Manufacturing Association, the Chemical Industry Council of Illinois, the Illinois Pork Producers and the Illinois Petroleum Council.
As a constituent of Moore’s, I wish the governor would hurry up and make a decision on this opponent. Because while Moore is lobbying to become head of the IEPA, he’s also lobbying Mayor Rahm Emanuel to appoint his wife, Barbara, to the city council if he gets the job. As a result, he hasn’t been nearly as critical of Emanuel as he was of Richard M. Daley. Before voting for the Parade and Public Assembly Ordinance last month, Moore delivered an unctuous speech praising the mayor and his staff for “their open-mindedness and lack of defensiveness about their proposals. It’s truly a refreshing change in City Hall.”
Moore, the fourth-most senior alderman, has been seeking a new office for years. In 2000, he ran for Clerk of the Cook County Circuit Court. In 2010, he considered a run for the state legislature. More power to him if he’s named IEPA director, but if he’s not going to get the job, we want our independent alderman back.