Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed suit against the Trump International Tower for dumping millions of gallons of heated waste water into the Chicago River daily without a permit from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.
The Trump Hotel’s heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system draws 19.7 million gallons of water from the river each day for use in that system, then discharges it back into the river.
Madigan alleges that the Trump Tower operation releases those millions of gallons of water into the Chicago River per day “without having conducted federally mandated studies of the impact its facility has on the river’s fish and without the required National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit.”
“Trump Tower continues to take millions of gallons of water from the Chicago River every day without a permit and without any regard to how it may be impacting the river’s ecosystem,” Madigan said. “I filed my lawsuit to make sure Trump Tower cannot continue violating the law.”
The lawsuit seeks a permanent injunction against the hotel, and $10,000 in civil penalties for each day the hotel remains in violation of the law.
Under Illinois law, heated water is considered a “contaminant.” The lawsuit states that the Trump Tower obtained a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit in 2012. That permit expired on Aug. 31, 2017. The hotel applied for a permit renewal on May 26, 2017, but a new permit has not yet been granted.
Illinois law requires a permit seeker to apply for a renewal 180 days prior to the expiration date of the existing permit. If the permit seeker does apply in timely fashion, that business is allowed to continue to operate the permitted system until the state issues a new permit, even if the process runs past the permit expiration date.
Madigan and the Illinois EPA are arguing that the Trump Hotel failed to meet that requirement for re-applying, submitting their application 98 days prior to the expiration.
Madigan’s office said she took legal action against Trump Tower after the Sierra Club and Friends of the Chicago River announced plans to sue Trump Tower over ongoing violations of the Clean Water Act.
Madigan previously filed a complaint with the Illinois Pollution Control Board in 2012, alleging that Trump Tower was releasing heated water into the Chicago River without an NPDES permit. The matter was settled and Trump Tower was ordered to obtain an NPDES permit, pay a fine and comply with environmental laws.
— Illinois suing Trump Tower for environmental violations —-