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Issue Position: Enforcing the Environmental Laws

Issue Position

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In 2001, the Sierra Club made its first endorsement ever for Illinois Attorney General. Lisa Madigan was their selection. They renewed their endorsement of Attorney General Madigan in 2006, and today, after five years in office, it's easy to see why.

Enforcing Environmental Protections: Strong New Laws Target Polluters

Lisa Madigan has been steadfast in opposing the Bush administration's repeated attempts to cripple the federal Clean Air Act. She has twice filed petitions in federal court to prevent the administration from giving a break to polluters, and successfully blocked a rollback of key portions of the New Source Review program.

Attorney General Madigan has been equally firm in using the Clean Air Act to protect the environment. The Attorney General's office recently enforced the Act in two of the largest environmental protection cases in Illinois history, reaching resolutions that will collectively reduce air pollutant emissions by over 81,000 tons per year.

Madigan was instrumental in drafting and advocating for the passage of the Safe and Clean Communities Act, which strengthened Illinois enforcement of anti-pollution safeguards. Additionally, after an Illinois Appellate Court broke with decades of precedent to prevent the Attorney General's office from holding polluters accountable for cleaning up their devastation, Madigan's office drafted and successfully advocated for legislation to reinstate that ability.

Holding Polluters Accountable

Although it began dumping millions of gallons of wastewater containing radioactive tritium into the groundwater around its Braidwood nuclear power plant as early as 1996, Exelon only disclosed that it had done so in late 2005. As a result, Attorney General Madigan, along with Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow, is suing Exelon. The suit seeks to force Exelon to immediately provide a source of drinking water for nearby residents, and to take measures to prevent further tritium leaks. Additionally, Glasgow and Madigan recently succeeded in obtaining a preliminary injunction which will guide the cleanup process and ensure that a plan is in place to protect the public health and the environment.

Madigan prevailed in another high-profile pollution case, reaching a $200,000 settlement with the Dave Matthews Band after one of their tour buses poured 800 pounds of liquid human waste on top of a tour boat plying the Chicago River.

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