One of the primary responsibilities of the Attorney General's office is safeguarding the public by protecting the environment. Attorney General Raoul plays a significant role in protecting the health and welfare of all Illinois residents and strives to provide a future that will include a safe environment.
The Office of the Attorney General handles both civil and criminal litigation of environmental crimes. The civil litigation is handled by the Attorney General's Environmental Enforcement Division and the criminal litigation is handled by the Environmental Crimes Bureau.
By educating the public, Attorney General Raoul believes we can increase the number of eyes and ears in each community helping to detect environmental crimes.
The experience of the Environmental Crimes Bureau reveals that successful prosecution of environmental crimes requires the assistance and cooperation of community residents.
Environmental Bureau North
Environmental Bureau South/Asbestos Litigation Bureau
Environmental Crimes Bureau
The Illinois Attorney General plays a critical role in the enforcement of our civil environmental laws. The Attorney General's primary role in environmental enforcement is handling enforcement actions referred to the Office by a number of state agencies, including the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), Illinois Department of Public Health, Illinois Department of Natural Resources and others.
The Attorney General has power and authority to protect the public health and environment by pursuing enforcement actions that state agencies have not yet identified. The Attorney General uses that power to its fullest extent by aggressively identifying and bringing enforcement actions.
Attorney General Raoul also employs the Office's outreach to community members to learn of potential violations of environmental laws that are endangering the health and well-being of our families and communities.
The division's Asbestos Litigation Bureau handles civil cases against material manufacturers who have hazardously placed asbestos in state and university buildings. The bureau has recovered millions of dollars on behalf of Illinois residents as payment for damages that occurred as a result of using asbestos in construction since the mid-1900s, after the dangers of asbestos had come to public attention.
Protecting our natural resources is vital to ensuring a healthier Illinois. For this reason, strict observance of the state's environmental protection laws is very important. The Environmental Crimes Bureau is charged with prosecuting the most egregious of environmental crimes.
Environmental crimes fall into three categories: air, land and water.
Air Pollution: open burning of waste or tires, chemical releases and illegal removal of asbestos from buildings
Land Pollution: tire piles, landfills, roadside dumping, agricultural waste and other hazardous waste
Water Pollution: run-off, landfills, farm drainage and waste generated by construction sites and factories
Hazardous waste can be described as any material which threatens the health and safety of our environment and its inhabitants. It includes, but is not limited to, degreasers, acids, metals, paint waste, solvents, cyanides and pesticides.
Do not attempt to handle hazardous waste on your own. Call your local law enforcement or the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency for removal and/or handling of hazardous waste.
The Attorney General's Office has taken the lead in protecting Illinois’ air from pollution. On the federal level, The Attorney General's Office has advocated stronger air emission standards for electric power plants and motor vehicles. At the state level, The Attorney General's Office continues to fight for a cleaner environment and to hold polluters responsible for their actions. The Attorney General’s office successfully litigated the largest Clean Air Act enforcement case in state history, requiring the defendant to spend more than $88 million on pollution reduction projects at its Illinois facilities.