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

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.

Illinois Pollution Control Board Announces Appointments & Other News

Posted by Dave Scriven-Young on August 15, 2017 2:24 pm
The Illinois Pollution Control Board recently issued its Environmental Register for August 2017.  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 seven months and provides a rulemaking 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”.  Most importantly, the Board announced that Board member Katie Papadimitriu assumed the role of Chairman in May 2017, and Brenda Carter (former Deputy Executive Director of the Illinois Environmental Regulatory Group) was appointed to the Board by Governor Rauner.  IERG is a pro-business advocacy group on environmental matters and, therefore, Ms. Carter's pick would increase the representation of the business community's interests on the Board. Click here to view the Environmental Register.

Manufacturer Settles State Air Pollution Enforcement Action for $235,000

Posted by Dave Scriven-Young on February 17, 2017 1:33 pm
The Illinois Attorney General's Office recently settled an environmental enforcement action concerning a calcined coke plant located at 12187 East 950th Avenue in Robinson, Crawford County, Illinois.  Calcined Petroleum Coke is a critical ingredient in the production of aluminum. The enforcement action sought civil penalties for alleged violations of the air pollution provisions of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act.  In People v. Rain CII Carbon, LLC, the State alleged eight violations: air pollution, permit condition violations, reporting and recordkeeping violations, maintenance and notification violations, other recordkeeping violations, operation and notification violations, failure to timely submit annual emissions reports, and failure to submit true and accurate compliance certifications for 2010 and 2011.

Illinois Pollution Control Board Releases Environmental Register for January 2017

Posted by Dave Scriven-Young on January 23, 2017 4:29 pm
The Illinois Pollution Control Board recently issued its Environmental Register for January 2017.  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".  Click here to review the Environmental Register.

Toxics Release Inventory Analysis Shows Good News Nationally, Mixed Bag for Illinois

Posted by Dave Scriven-Young on January 17, 2017 1:34 pm
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released its annual 2015 Toxics Release Inventory ("TRI") National Analysis, which tracks the management of certain toxic chemicals that may pose a threat to human health and the environment.  This information is gathered from American facilities in different industries, which must report annually on how much of each chemical is released to the environment and/or managed through recycling, energy recovery, and treatment.  Overall, the report shows good news: releases of toxic chemicals into the air fell 56% from 2005-2015 at industrial facilities submitting data to the TRI program, including a 63 million pound decrease from 2014 to 2015.

New Law Countdown #3: Amendments to Illinois Environmental Justice Act

Posted by Dave Scriven-Young on January 11, 2017 12:14 pm
Counting down new Illinois environmental laws that took effect on January 1, 2017 is Public Act 99-0541, which makes changes to the composition of the Illinois Commission on Environmental Justice.  The function of the Commission is to "advise State entities on environmental justice and related community issues, review and analyze the impact of current State laws and policies on the issue of environmental justice and sustainable communities, assess the adequacy of State and local laws to address the issue of environmental justice and sustainable communities, develop criteria to assess whether communities in the State may be experiencing environmental justice issues, and recommend options to the Governor for addressing issues, concerns, or problems related to environmental justice that surface after reviewing State laws and policies, including prioritizing areas of the State that need immediate attention."

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