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

Illinois Appellate Court Upholds Requirement That ComEd Purchase FutureGen Power

Posted by Dave Scriven-Young on July 25, 2014 4:53 pm
The Illinois Appellate Court recently ruled that it is legal to require Commonwealth Edison to purchase power from the proposed FutureGen 2.0 project.  In Commonwealth Edison Co. v. Illinois Commerce Commission, 2014 IL App (1st) 130544, the court upheld the Illinois Commerce Commission's approval of an Illinois Power Agency proposal that required ComEd to enter into a sourcing agreement with FutureGen 2.0, which has been called "the world's first coal-fueled, near-zero emissions electric power plant".  Although ComEd insisted that the Commerce Commission exceeded its authority, the Court disagreed, pointing to state law that requires the utilities to source some of their electricity from clean coal or retrofitted facilities.

U.S. EPA Awards $1 Million to Redevelop Brownfield Sites in Illinois

Posted by Dave Scriven-Young on June 25, 2014 12:40 pm
The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced that three Illinois communities will be receiving grants to cleanup contaminated properties and boost local economies by redeveloping former brownfield sites.  A brownfield site is a piece of property that is contaminated by a hazardous substance or other pollutant that complicates the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of that property.  EPA announced the following specific grants:

Peckar & Abramson, P.C., Honored By Chambers & Partners As The Nation’s Top Construction Law Firm

Posted by Dave Scriven-Young on June 20, 2014 9:14 am
Congratulations to my law firm, Peckar & Abramson, P.C., on being named by Chambers & Partners as the nation's top construction law firm!  Here's the press release: Firm Wins Top Construction Law Award for Unprecedented Second Consecutive Year NEW YORK—June 19th, 2014 –Peckar & Abramson, P.C. (P&A) is pleased to announce that Chambers & Partners has selected the firm as the nation’s top construction law firm for the second consecutive year and for the third time in the twelve- year history of Chambers USA.  This marks the first time that Chambers has awarded a construction law firm this recognition three separate times, and the first time that the same firm has received the award two years in a row, demonstrating P&A’s indisputable standing as the nation’s foremost construction law practice.  Peckar & Abramson was honored with this award at the ninth annual Chambers USA Awards for Excellence, hosted on May 22, 2014 in New York City.

Illinois Federal Court Dismisses Lawsuit Challenging FutureGen Air Permit

Posted by Dave Scriven-Young on June 18, 2014 4:05 pm
The U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois recently denied an attempt by Sierra Club to challenge an air pollution control construction permit issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the FutureGen 2.0 Project.  The Court ruled in Sierra Club Inc. v. FutureGen Industrial Alliance Inc. that the Sierra Club could not challenge the permit in federal court; instead, the Sierra Club must file an appeal in the Illinois Pollution Control Board, as required by Illinois law.

Illinois Places Future Ban on Manufacture and Sale of Products Containing Synthetic Plastic Microbeads

Posted by Dave Scriven-Young on June 10, 2014 3:55 pm
On June 8, 2014, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a bill into law that places a future ban on the manufacture and sale of products containing synthetic plastic microbeads.  Public Act 098-0638 amends the Environmental Protection Act to add Section 52.5, which now contains the ban on microbeads, the plastic bits found in personal care products (such as facial cleansers, shampoos, and toothpastes) used to exfoliate or cleanse in a rinse-off product.  According to the new law, the legislature put the ban in place due to impacts to Illinois' waters: "Microbeads have been documented to collect harmful pollutants already present in the environment and harm fish and other aquatic organisms that form the base of the aquatic food chain.  Recently, microbeads have been recorded in Illinois water bodies, and in particular, the waters of Lake Michigan. . . . Without significant and costly improvements to the majority of the State's sewage treatment facilities, microbeads contained in products will continue to pollute Illinois' waters and hinder the recent substantial economic investments in redeveloping Illinois waterfronts and the ongoing efforts to restore the State's lakes and rivers and recreational and commercial fisheries."

National Climate Assessment Addresses Climate Change Challenges and Opportunities for Midwest

Posted by Dave Scriven-Young on May 9, 2014 1:38 pm
The U.S. Global Change Research Program recently issued its report, "Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment" which provides a detailed analysis of the challenges and opportunities that the Midwest will face as a result of climate change.  The full assessment can be found on the USGCRP's dynamic website,

Could the Next Wave of Toxic Tort Lawsuits Result from Lead in Tap Water?

Posted by Dave Scriven-Young on September 26, 2013 1:25 am
The Chicago Tribune recently told the tale of unintended consequences--consequences that could result in serious health problems for some residents of the City of Chicago and potential toxic tort exposure.  According to the article, "[t]he problem starts with lead service lines that Chicago installed across the city until the mid-1980s to connect water mains with homes. Researchers at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found that spikes of lead can leach into tap water when those pipes are altered by water main replacements, meter installations or street work."  It appears that the real problem is that Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been pushing "to speed up the replacement of aging water mains and increase the number of water meters installed citywide -- two activities that EPA researchers found to be linked to high amounts of lead in tap water." Now that EPA researchers have made these findings, the City has been advising residents to open all household taps for three to five minutes after a water main has been replaced on their street.  This raises an issue, however, as to whether this warning is enough, and whether the City's actions in response to the EPA's findings could lead to toxic tort lawsuits if residents end of getting sick from lead poisoning.

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