News and Events Involving Environmental Law, Published by Chicago Environmental Attorney Dave Scriven-Young
of Peckar & Abramson, P.C. -- (312) 881-6309

Sierra Club Reactivates Program to Inspect Construction Sites

Posted by Dave Scriven-Young on March 12, 2019 5:33 pm
According to a recent news report, local Sierra Club chapters are reactivating programs that support volunteers who inspect construction sites for potential violations of environmental laws.  For many years, the national Sierra Club organization has had programs to "connect people with their waterways" by having them conduct local water quality testing and monitoring.  At times, these programs also involved volunteers inspecting construction sites. This program has not been used as frequently since the Great Recession began in 2008; however, Sierra Club reportedly once again sees the need for the program as there has been more development since the recovery of the economy. 

Illinois Pollution Control Board Provides Regulatory and Case Update

Posted by Dave Scriven-Young on February 15, 2019 10:40 am
The Illinois Pollution Control Board recently published its Environmental Register for January 2019 on its website.  The Board is an independent five-member Board that adopts environmental control regulations and decides enforcement actions and other environmental cases in the State of Illinois.  As usual, the Environmental Register contains an update from the chairperson of the Board, Katie Papadimitriu, a rulemaking update, an appellate update, a summary of actions of the Board, the Board's upcoming calendar, and lists of restrictive status and crucial review for community water supplies.  The Board has been very active since the last issue of the Environmental Register in October of 2018.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Agrees to Take Action on Endangered Species Act Petition

Posted by Dave Scriven-Young on January 25, 2019 12:48 pm
Recently, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service settled a claim filed by the Center for Biological Diversity that forces FWS to take action on issues relating to a critical habitat designation for the western yellow-billed cuckoo. In 2014, FWS listed the western distinct population segment of the yellow-billed cuckoo under the Endangered Species Act but had not yet published a final rule designating critical habitat or made a finding that it would not be prudent to do so.  In 2017, the FWS received a petition to delist and subsequently published a 90-day finding on the petition, concluding that the petition presented substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the delisting may be warranted.  The FWS was preparing a 12-month finding to determine whether the delisting is warranted at the time that the plaintiff filed the lawsuit.  According to the plaintiff's complaint, this issue involves 550,000 acres of habitat across nine states.  The cuckoos, which migrate between South American and the United States, usually nest in willow trees, but also use alder, buttonwood, mesquite, box elder, and sycamore trees.  They usually live near rivers but much of the birds' traditional habitat has been lost due to livestock overgrazing, encroachment from agriculture, and conversion of native habitat to predominately native vegetation.

John Kim to Serve Once Again as Director of Illinois EPA

Posted by Dave Scriven-Young on January 21, 2019 9:22 pm
Last week, Illinois Governor Pritzker announced that John Kim will serve as director of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.  He had previously served the Agency in many capacities under both Democratic and Republican administrations, including as director and interim director.  Kim is seen as a solid pick who gets along with both environmental citizens' groups and industry groups.

Illinois Department of Public Health Approves New Lead Rules

Posted by Dave Scriven-Young on January 16, 2019 9:46 pm
On January 15, 2019, the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules approved rules proposed by the Illinois Department of Public Health that will increase the number of children identified with lead poisoning and trigger earlier intervention.  The rules lower the level at which public health interventions are initiated for children with blood lead levels from 10 micrograms per deciliter to 5 micrograms per deciliter, the same lead reference level used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

New Federal Decision Requires Clean Water Act Permits for Recyclers of Construction Waste

Posted by Dave Scriven-Young on December 19, 2018 9:46 am
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently decided that contractors that process construction debris and waste for recycling may need to obtain permits under the Clean Water Act (“CWA”) for their stormwater runoff. As the Second Circuit ruled, “not every incident of stormwater runoff is subject to regulation under the CWA.  Only stormwater runoff associated with certain enumerated activities in the Act and its implementing regulations is required to be covered by” a CWA permit.  For example, permits are required for discharges “associated with industrial activity”, which EPA defined in part as work involved in the recycling of materials, including those classified as Standard Industrial Classification (“SIC”) 5015 and 5093.  SIC 5093 encompasses “establishments primarily engaged in assembling, breaking up, sorting, and wholesale distribution of scrap and waste materials.”

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.

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