The People v. Lincoln, Ltd. (1st Dist. Doc. No. 1-07-2517)

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The Illinois EPA asked the State Attorney General’s office to seek an injunction and civil penalties against the defendant for operating a “construction or demolition debris” landfill without a permit.  The defendant, a company operating a landfill in the Village of Ford Heights (a village the court describes as “an economically depressed community south of Chicago”), argued that the debris (a mound 70 feet tall spanning 26 acres) would be “waste” and therefore in violation of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act (415 ILCS 5/21(d)(2)) but for the fact that the landfill was the proposed site of an all-seasons downhill skiing facility which placed it under an exception to the act.


The question was certified:

   "Whether clean construction and demolition debris deposited onto the land for the purpose of providing the infrastructure for a recreational facility to be built at the site and to be used for snow skiing/snow boarding (facts which are undisputed for purposes of the August 4, 2007 partial summary judgment order) constitutes 'waste' under the Illinois Environmental Protection Act and requires a permit in compliance with the Act's waste disposal requirements including but not limited to 415 ILCS 5/3.305, 415 ILCS 5/21 et seq., 415 ILCS 5/21.1 and 35 Ill. Adm. Code 812.101(a)."


No Dumping.JPG

The court put aside the question regarding whether the debris deposited by the defendant was, in fact, “clean construction or demolition debris” reserving the issue for trial.  Assuming that the debris was “clean” the court found that there was nothing in the actions of the defendant by leveling the debris once it reached the site, demonstrating that it “separated or processed” the debris.  The court also found that the planned ski hill did not create an exception amounting to “returning [the debris] to the economic mainstream in the form of raw materials or products.”  (415 ILCS 5/3.160)  The court reasoned that accepting the claim that the future use created an exception would negate landfill regulation by allowing any landfill operator with a future intention to avoid meaningful regulatory oversight.  The court additionally dismissed the defendants argument that an exception for using the debris as fill material was met – stating that the fill material exception was negated when the debris reached a height (70 feet) well above the adjacent land as the exception stated.


Answering the certified question in the negative, the court remanded the case.  The opinion is here.  For more information on what to do with construction debris, the IL EPA maintains this construction debris website.

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This page contains a single entry by FGPP published on June 18, 2008 12:22 PM.

Lakewood Prairie, LLC v. Ibarra Concrete Company, et al. (N.D.IL Doc. No. 08 C 1200) was the previous entry in this blog.

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