Tierney Blog

A Dramatic Drop in Prosecutions of Polluters in Illinois

Although there seems to be no shortage of pollution in Illinois, there has been a dramatic drop in the number of prosecutions since the inauguration of current Governor Bruce Rauner. Unlike consumer, antitrust and criminal laws where the attorney general is able to directly prosecute, AG environmental prosecution in almost every state requires referral or at least cooperation from client state agencies. When those agencies are stopped from doing their job by Governors or legislators, then the attorney general is left unable to proceed.

As the frustrated Illinois AG Lisa Madigan stated, "I have been dismayed by the sudden dropoff in the number of IEPA referrals to my office ... (a fact) that has dangerous consequences for people's health and the environment."