News and Events Involving Environmental Law, Published by Chicago Environmental Attorney Dave Scriven-Young
of Peckar & Abramson, P.C. -- (312) 239-9722

EPA To Oversee Cleanup of Lead-Contaminated Soil at Chicago Site

Posted by Dave Scriven-Young on October 7, 2015 4:05 pm
U.S. EPA Region V recently issued a press release relating to cleanup at a site in Chicago.  EPA "announced a settlement with H. Kramer & Co., the City of Chicago and the BNSF Railway Co. to remove lead-contaminated soil near the Benito Juarez Community Academy in Pilsen.  The alley at 21st Place behind the H. Kramer foundry and a portion of the BSNF railway spur at 21st Place and Cermak Road will also be paved to eliminate potential exposure to lead.  EPA will oversee the cleanup, which is expected to begin this month and to be completed by the end of the year."  Read the News

Seventh Circuit Finds Superfund Liability Limited by Release Signed in 1920

Posted by Dave Scriven-Young on September 24, 2015 12:38 pm
The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that a 95-year old agreement released a defendant from contribution costs under the Superfund statute.  In Peoples Gas Light & Coke Company v. Beazer East, Inc., Peoples Gas sued to recover costs it had incurred in conducting environmental investigation and removal activities at a property that it partially owned.  At issue in this case was the following language contained in Section 107(e)(1), of the Superfund statute, 42 U.S.C. §9607(e)(1):

Elmhurst Completes Environmental Controls at Pumping Stations

Posted by Dave Scriven-Young on September 23, 2015 4:19 pm
According to news reports, the City of Elmhurst has completed the Salt Creek (Greenway) Trail Pumping Stations Water Quality and Landscape Enhancements project involving improvements at four pumping stations.  "The goal of this project is to model the proper use of erosion and sedimentation control techniques using best management practices and educational displays.  This work will help to manage sedimentation/siltation, mineral and nutrient mitigation, aid in stormwater detention, promote indigenous plant growth and model sustainable practices for the community of Elmhurst.  These improvements can be replicated at individual homeowner’s properties within our community to help improve water quality and reduce run-off."  Read the News

New Event Listing: Volunteer with National Public Lands Day

Posted by Dave Scriven-Young on September 22, 2015 1:52 pm
Check out the events page for a new event coming up this Saturday, September 26, 2015: National Public Lands Day.  This looks like a great day to volunteer and spend time in our public lands, and there are many sites in Illinois.  For more information, click here.

U.S. Senate Bill Would Eliminate Duplicative Permitting

Posted by Dave Scriven-Young on September 22, 2015 11:37 am
According to news reports, a "recently submitted Senate bill, the Sensible Environmental Protection Act, amends FIFRA [the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act] and CWA [the Clean Water Act] to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or a state from requiring a permit for a discharge into navigable waters of a pesticide authorized under FIFRA and clarifies the permitting of pesticide applications. The bill would eliminate the need for redundant permits." Read the News

Court: Vehicle Registration Surcharge to Support Illinois DNR is Constitutional

Posted by Dave Scriven-Young on August 18, 2015 3:00 pm
In Illinois, a $2 surcharge to fund the Department of Natural Resources is added to motor-vehicle registration fees, and this surcharge was challenged as being unconstitutional.  In Friedman v. White, the Illinois Appellate Court for the Second District affirmed a trial court's ruling granting a motion to dismiss a complaint seeking a ruling that the DNR surcharge violated the uniformity clause of the Illinois State Constitution.  The uniformity clause provides: "In any law classifying the subjects or objects of non-property taxes or fees, the classes shall be reasonable and the subjects and objects within each class shall be taxed uniformly."  The plaintiffs challenging the surcharge focused on the fact that some people were subject to the surcharge (i.e., those who owned motor vehicles of the "first division" (generally cars and small trucks), autocycles, motorcycles, motor-driven cycles, and pedalcycles) and some people were not (i.e., those who do not own motor vehicles and those who owned "second-division" vehicles). The Court found that there was a reasonable relationship between the surcharge and the object of the public policy at issue: 

Court Rejects Attempt to Block Implementation of Illinois Fracking Regulations

Posted by Dave Scriven-Young on August 14, 2015 4:07 pm
In Smith v. Department of Natural Resources, the Illinois Appellate Court for the Fifth District affirmed a trial court's ruling denying a complaint for a preliminary injunction to prevent the implementation of the Illinois DNR's fracking regulations.  As has been widely reported (see here), the Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act and the initial draft of the regulations were put together by a coalition of environmentalists, industry folks, legislators, and regulators, but that coalition has apparently been fraying. The Plaintiffs in the Smith case were several individuals and Southern Illinoisans Against Fracturing Our Environment, and they made several arguments against the implementation of the regulations, including the argument that DNR failed to comply with several procedures that were required when creating the regulations.  The trial court denied plaintiff's motion for preliminary relief, and the appellate court affirmed.  The appellate court based its ruling on a procedural point, i.e. that Illinois law only allowed government agencies, not private parties, from being awarded an injunction for violations of the rulemaking requirements:

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