Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

E&E Hauling, Inc. v. Forest Preserve Dist. of DuPage County, Ill.

ELR Citation: 16 ELR 20593
Nos. No. 85 C 6951, 629 F. Supp. 973/24 ERC 1220/(N.D. Ill., 02/18/1986)

The court rules that the Illinois Environmental Protection Act (IEPA) preempts the field of sanitary landfill regulation in the state. The court, addressing sua sponte possible limits on its ability to hear the state-law preemption claim, holds that abstension is not appropriate, because there is controlling precedent from the state supreme court, and defendant forest preserve district is a local government unprotected by the Eleventh Amendment.

Reaching the preemption issue, the court holds that a decision of the state supreme court that the IEPA preempted local sanitary landfill regulation is controlling. The court next rejects the arguments raised by the district in support of its ordinances, which require plaintiff to pay a percentage of the user fees it collects to the district to fund post-closure environmental expenses and limit the volume of waste plaintiff may accept. First, the court holds that the ordinances do not qualify as "private remedies," which are preserved by IEPA §1002(b). The private remedies referred to in this provision are traditional tort remedies against landfill operators or owners. Second, the district's power to enact the ordinances is not preserved by IEPA §1002(a)(iv), which requires the state to encourage local governments to adopt environmental programs consistent with the Act. The state supreme court explicitly held that this provision is not a grant of authority to local governments. Third, the IEPA's detailed scheme regulating post-closure funding for landfills precludes the district's argument that the ordinances are simply filling a regulatory gap. Fourth, the ordinances are not authorized by IEPA §1039.2, which vests the responsibility for approving sanitary site locations in county boards and allows these boards to impose reasonable conditions necessary to accomplish the purposes of this section on landfill operators. The state court struck down conditions similar to those imposed by the district's ordinances as not reasonable or necessary to carry out the purposes of the section. Fifth, the court holds that the district may not establish more stringent requirements that the IEPA because the Act's comprehensive regulatory scheme indicates an intent to preclude local regulations entirely.

Counsel for Plaintiff-Counterdefendant
Thomas W. McNamara, Michael J. Rovell, Robert D. Nachman
Jenner & Block
One IBM Plaza, Chicago IL 60611
(312) 222-9350

Counsel for Defendant-Counterplaintiff
Richard A. Makarski, James P. O'Brien
Chapman & Cutler
111 W. Monroe St., Chicago IL 60603
(312) 845-3000