Chicago IL (11/10/2021) — Attorney General Kwame Raoul today announced the Attorney General’s office is launching an initiative aimed at enhancing its focus on environmental justice issues throughout Illinois. As part of that work, Attorney General Raoul is encouraging Illinois residents to attend a free town hall discussion of environmental justice issues facing communities around the state.
To kick off the initiative, the Attorney General’s Environmental Enforcement Division is hosting a virtual town hall discussion Wednesday, Nov. 17, from 10 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. The discussion will feature presentations by attorneys in the Attorney General’s office, environmental advocates and stakeholders. Participants will learn how to provide feedback and raise concerns that will allow the Attorney General’s office to enhance its enforcement efforts in areas, frequently communities of color, that have been disproportionately impacted by pollution.
“In order to effectively address environmental justice issues throughout Illinois, our efforts must be informed by the residents of those communities,” Raoul said. “I encourage people to attend this free town hall, and contact my office to provide input and raise environmental concerns, which will help ensure that our enforcement actions hold polluters accountable and benefit the areas most impacted by sustained exposure to contamination.”
In addition to presentations by career attorneys in the Attorney General’s office, the town hall will include presentations by community organizers, grassroots environmental advocates and faith leaders from around Illinois. Representatives from the Attorney General’s office also will detail the office’s efforts to gather information from Illinois residents who live in environmental justice communities. To that end, Attorney General Raoul is encouraging individuals throughout the state to highlight local environmental concerns and provide input by emailing the Attorney General’s office at EJ@ilag.gov.
The Attorney General’s office enforces Illinois’ environmental protection laws. Raoul’s Environmental Enforcement Division, which enforces civil environmental laws, has recovered millions of dollars from polluters and required companies to undertake environmental improvement projects in communities impacted by contamination.
The Attorney General’s initiative will build upon previous legal action the office has taken to hold companies accountable for pollution in environmental justice communities. In 2019, Raoul’s office filed a lawsuit against Aqua Illinois alleging the supplier failed to provide residents of University Park in Will County with access to safe drinking water. The Attorney General’s office has since entered into an agreed interim order that requires Aqua to provide residents with bottled water and filter devices, and to conduct monthly compliance sampling. In 2020, Attorney General Raoul announced a settlement with Hilco Redevelopment LLC to resolve a lawsuit his office filed when the company demolished a smokestack at the former Crawford Electric Generating Station in Chicago. The demolition resulted in a cloud of contaminants being released into the surrounding neighborhood. Raoul’s settlement required the company to provide funding for a community health and wellness program addressing leading health concerns faced by Little Village residents. Most recently, Raoul’s office filed a lawsuit against Sims Metal Management alleging the company failed to appropriately control its emissions of volatile organic material from its metal shredding and recycling facility in the Little Village neighborhood of Chicago. Raoul’s office recently entered an agreed interim order that requires Sims to take significant actions to reduce uncontrolled emissions and conduct emissions testing.
Individuals can participate in Attorney General Raoul’s town hall on environmental justice by registering here. To request reasonable accommodations email email@example.com.