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

Illinois Attorney General Wins Lawsuit Over Trump Administration Regarding Smog Regulations

Posted by Dave Scriven-Young on March 16, 2018 3:19 pm
A federal judge has ruled that the Trump administration failed to timely designate the areas of the country that have "attainment" (meeting) or "nonattainment" (not meeting) with the ground-level ozone standards established in 2015.  When the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency missed an October 1, 2017 deadline, fourteen states (including Illinois), the District of Columbia, and several environmental organizations sued.

Illinois Pollution Control Board Announces Regulatory Changes and Other News

Posted by Dave Scriven-Young on March 13, 2018 3:01 pm
The Illinois Pollution Control Board recently issued its Environmental Register for February 2018.  The Board has the authority to adopt environmental standards and regulations for the State of Illinois and to adjudicate contested cases arising from the Illinois Environmental Protection Act and its implementing regulations.  The Environmental Register summarizes the Board's work for the past six months and provides a rulemaking update, appellate update, summary of actions of the Board, the Board's calendar, and listings of community water supplies that have been designated with the labels "restricted status" or critical review".

Man Pleads Guilty to Felony Offense of Failure to Notify IEPA of Asbestos Removal

Posted by Dave Scriven-Young on March 6, 2018 6:03 pm
Criminal prosecutions of federal environmental laws are rare and are typically limited to situations where the defendant knowingly, intentionally, and willfully violated a particular environmental statute or regulation.  The United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois recently announced that a man was charged with the felony offense of failure to notify regulatory authorities prior to removing asbestos material.  The defendant pled guilty to the charge and will be sentenced in June.

State of Illinois Settles Alleged Water Pollution Claims Against Coal Mine Operators

Posted by Dave Scriven-Young on February 26, 2018 6:49 pm
On February 22, 2018, the Illinois Pollution Control Board accepted the parties' stipulation and proposed settlement in People v. Illinois Fuel Co., PCB 10-86.  This case concerned two coal mines, one located five miles north of Herod, Illinois in Saline County, and one located five miles southwest of Junction, Illinois in Gallatin County, Illinois.  The State alleged that the mine operators violated the Illinois Environmental Protection Act by discharging effluent from the mines into waters of the State so as to cause or tend to cause water pollution and in violation of the mines' National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits.

US Department of Justice Announces Changes to Consent Decree Settling Case Against Heat Recovery Coking Facility

Posted by Dave Scriven-Young on February 14, 2018 3:57 pm
On February 13, 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice announced in a Federal Register notice that it lodged a proposed Second Amendment to Consent Decree with the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois in its lawsuit against companies that included the Gateway Energy & Coke Company.  The United States, on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the State of Illinois filed a complaint under the Clean Air Act asserting claims relating to two Midwestern heat recovery coking facilities, one of which is located in Granite City, Illinois (the "Gateway Facility").  The United States and the State of Illinois sought civil penalties and injunctive relief against the owners and operators of the Gateway Facility.

Trump DOJ Moves to Limit Reliance on Guidance Documents in EPA Federal Enforcement Matters

Posted by Dave Scriven-Young on February 2, 2018 11:28 am
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has developed dozens of guidance documents over the years for air, compliance and enforcement, pesticides and toxic substances, waste, and water.  (See EPA's website listing guidance documents.)  These guidance documents were prepared under the premise that industry needs additional information to be able to comply with the requirements placed on them by various environmental statutes and regulation.  The problem, of course, is that these guidance documents are not law, i.e., they have not been passed by Congress and have not been promulgated by the EPA through the regulatory procedure of notice to, and comment by, the public.

Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds Convictions of Environmental Activists under Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act

Posted by Dave Scriven-Young on November 10, 2017 1:43 pm
The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld the federal government’s ability to criminally prosecute environmental activists who destroy property under the federal Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (“AETA”). In United States v. Johnson, the defendants travelled from Los Angeles, California to a mink farm in Morris, Illinois.  The mink farm was in the business of breeding, raising, and selling minks to fur manufacturers.  At the mink farm, the defendants released approximately 2000 minks from their cages. They also removed portions of the fence surrounding the mink farm to help the minks escape, and they destroyed the minks’ breeding cards, which were needed to sell the minks to a furrier.  In addition, they poured caustic substances on two farm vehicles and spray-painted the words "Liberation is Love" on a barn.  The vandalism caused between $120,000 and $200,000 worth of damage.  The defendants then began traveling to a fox farm in Roanoke, Illinois, which bred foxes to sell to fur manufacturers.  They planned to damage the fox farm as well, but they were arrested by local law enforcement before they arrived at the fox farm. The defendants were charged in state court with possession of burglary tools and were convicted.  They were sentenced to 30 months imprisonment.

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