Development of Regulations
Schiff Hardin environmental attorneys assiduously follow the development of state and federal regulations affecting our clients, and have been intimately involved in the development of various federal and state rules.
The firm's experience with the Illinois environmental rules dates back to when the first rules were proposed in the early 1970s. A number of our environmental attorneys worked at the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) or the Illinois Pollution Control Board (IPCB) before continuing their careers at Schiff Hardin, giving them deep and well-rounded experience in the development of Illinois regulations. Recently, we have represented clients in the development of the Illinois Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR), the Illinois Mercury Rule and multi-pollutant standards, the Illinois BART rule and rules establishing reasonably available control technology (RACT) limitations for nitrogen oxides (NOx) for several industrial sectors. We have also assisted clients with rulemakings in other states, including the Indiana CAIR and mercury emission rulemakings. Our experience includes development of in-depth comments and examination of witnesses at rulemaking hearings.
We have been in involved in federal environmental rulemakings as well. We have participated in challenges to federal rules on behalf of clients, including the appeal of the federal CAIR. We also help our clients develop comments on federal proposals, including recently the Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rule, Coal Combustion Residue Rule and the Transport Rule.
Relief from Regulations
Schiff Hardin assisted a power company
in securing from the Illinois Pollution Control Board an order modifying the thermal limits applicable to its cooling water discharge at one of its power stations.
The Illinois Environmental Protection Act provides various forms of relief from Illinois regulations on temporary, long-term and permanent bases. Our environmental lawyers have obtained relief for clients through all of these mechanisms. Having a comprehensive knowledge of Illinois regulatory issues, Schiff Hardin's Environmental Group can assess a client's needs and provide guidance as to the appropriate form of regulatory relief.
Among our site-specific work, we have recently worked closely with a client and technical experts to draft a rulemaking proposal adding a new section to the solid waste disposal regulations for the site-specific closure of an ash pond that has reached its life expectancy. With no existing Illinois regulations applicable to the closure of such surface impoundments, our team drafted language from scratch, carefully considering the client's needs, site-specific conditions, and the protection of human health and the environment. The proposal is now a joint proposal supported by IEPA's legal and technical teams, and has been adopted for first notice publication in the Illinois Register. It is being used as a protocol for other surface impoundment closures in the state.
We have helped clients obtain variances, which are temporary relief mechanisms provided through the Illinois Pollution Control Board. A recent example of our variance work includes obtaining for a client a variance from requirements of the Illinois mercury rule (35 Ill.Adm.Code Part 225).
We have also worked with clients and their technical teams to gather data and prepare the adequate support for requesting provisional variances in emergency or unforeseen circumstances. A provisional variance is short-term relief negotiated with IEPA and approved by the IPCB. Our attorneys have negotiated a variety of provisional variances including temporary relief from the following: thermal discharge limits, adjusted boron standards and the Illinois Mercury Rule (while sorbents were tested to evaluate their effectiveness).
Adjusted standards are orders the IPCB issues to provide a petitioner with its own permanent alternative to an otherwise applicable environmental regulation. Examples of the work we have performed recently include obtaining an adjusted standard from Stage II vapor recovery fueling requirements; obtaining an adjusted standard from the boron standard, and obtaining an alternative schedule under the Multi-Pollutant Standard (MPS) of the Illinois Mercury Rule.
Schiff Hardin advises clients on all aspects of landfill siting, with a solid understanding of the siting processes and procedures in Illinois, as well as the appeal process. Our environmental attorneys have aided a local siting authority through the very prescriptive Illinois landfill siting process, advising on procedures and substance and working with technical experts to help create a record for use in possible appeals. We have also provided representation on appeal before the IPCB.
Permit Issuance and Appeals
We have extensive experience with helping our clients to obtain permits in Illinois and other states. For instance, we have helped our clients to obtain NPDES, PSD, Title V and state operating and construction permits.
Our group also has significant experience prosecuting and defending against challenges to issued permits. We have appealed numerous Title V operating permits, National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits and state construction permits. For instance, under Title V, third parties may petition the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) to object to the issuance of a Title V permit or to conditions contained in a Title V permit. Our attorneys have successfully defended, in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, a challenge to USEPA's denial of a petition to object to permits issued to our clients. We have also defended against challenges to our clients permits, including Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permits issued by IEPA and appealed by third parties before the federal Environmental Appeals Board.