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

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:

Speaking at AGC Contractors Environmental Conference

Posted by Dave Scriven-Young on August 13, 2015 10:12 am
I'm pleased to announce that I will speaking at The Associated General Contractors of America 2015 Contractors Environmental Conference, which will be held September 2-3, 2015 in Arlington, Virginia.  My topic is "Next Generation of Compliance and Reporting Environmental Information", and I will be co-presenting with Carey Johnston, PE, Enforcement Targeting and Data Division, Office of Compliance, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  

Illinois Pollution Control Board Releases Environmental Register for August 2014

Posted by Dave Scriven-Young on September 15, 2014 2:33 pm
The Illinois Pollution Control Board recently issued its Environmental Register for August 2014.  The Environmental Register features a letter from Board Chairman Deanna Glosser, which summarizes the activity that the Board has conducted in rulemaking dockets, including amendments adopted that make the Board's rules consistent with, and as stringent as, the current federal regulations regarding Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations. The Environmental Register also contains an appellate update, a rulemaking update, a summary of actions of the Board, a summary of new cases, and the Board’s calendar.

Illinois Department of Natural Resources Announces Invasive Species Prosecutions

Posted by Dave Scriven-Young on September 9, 2014 10:48 am
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources recently announced prosecutions against three out-of-state businesses for alleged violations of Illinois laws governing the importation of fish species that can become invasive, or can potentially spread Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS).  Investigations by the Illinois Conservation Police have resulted in fines of nearly $30,000, with the potential for additional fines as the remaining case is adjudicated.  Here's the description of the alleged violations from the Illinois DNR:

U.S. EPA Regulates Cooling Water Intake Structures

Posted by Dave Scriven-Young on August 30, 2014 6:39 pm
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently published final regulations to establish requirements for cooling water intake structures at existing facilities.  According to the EPA, "cooling water is withdrawn for the purpose of dissipating waste heat from industrial processes.  Over half of all water withdrawn in the United States each year is for cooling purposes.  By far, the largest industrial use of cooling water is for thermoelectric generation, but cooling water is also used in the manufacture of aluminum, chemicals and allied products, food and kindred products, pulp and paper, refined petroleum products, and steel, as well as in other industries."  EPA identified several potential problems with cooling water withdrawals, including impingment and entrainment:

Please Join Us For Next CBA Environmental Law Committee Meeting on September 2nd

Posted by Dave Scriven-Young on August 27, 2014 9:29 am
As Chair of the Chicago Bar Association’s Environmental Law Committee, I invite you to join us for our next meeting, which will be held on September 2, 2014 from 12:15 pm to 1:30 pm at the Chicago Bar Association.  The speaker will be Kristen Laughridge Gale from Nijman Franzetti, LLP, and the topic will be “Recent Developments in Illinois Environmental Legislation”.  Attorneys of all ages/experience and law students are encouraged to attend.

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