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Coal Operators v. Pollution Control Bd.

OPINION FILED NOVEMBER 27, 1974.

ILLINOIS COAL OPERATORS ASSOCIATION, PETITIONER,

v.

THE POLLUTION CONTROL BOARD ET AL., RESPONDENTS.



Petition for review of order of the Pollution Control Board.

MR. JUSTICE WARD DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

The Illinois Institute for Environmental Quality, which was created by the Environmental Protection Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1971, ch. 111 1/2, par. 1006), under the authority of the Act formed a Task Force on Noise in 1971 to draft suggested standards to be used for the regulation of noise. The suggestions of the Task Force, the personnel of which included members of the faculty of the University of Illinois in law, engineering and physiology and of a national accoustical consulting firm, were filed with the Illinois Pollution Control Board (the Board) early in 1972. Between June 1972 and May 1973 the Board conducted 16 public hearings throughout the State to consider the proposed regulations. The petitioner here, the Illinois Coal Operators Association, an unincorporated association of 11 coal-mining companies in Illinois, participated and offered evidence at the hearings. In July 1973 the Board adopted regulations to govern environmental noise. The Board considered that environmental noise comes from (1) stationary or "property line" sources; (2) ground transportation sources; (3) construction site sources; (4) airport sources. The regulations which were adopted concerned themselves only with category 1, stationary or "property line" sources. The respondents, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and the Illinois Pollution Control Board, have stated that regulations are being prepared for categories 2, 3 and 4 and at a later date those regulations will be announced.

The petitioner filed a request under the provisions of sections 29 and 41 of the Environmental Protection Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1971, ch. 111 1/2, pars. 1029, 1041) in the appellate court for a review of regulations which had been promulgated. These provisions state that any person "adversely affected or threatened by any rule or regulation of the Board may obtain a determination of the validity or application of such rule or regulation" by a petition for review. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1971, ch. 111 1/2, par. 1029.) The authority of the petitioner to proceed under this section has not been questioned by the respondents and we need not discuss it. We granted the petitioner's motion to transfer the case to this court under Rule 302(b). 50 Ill.2d R. 302(b).

The first contention in the petition is basically that the Board in Rule 102 of Chapter 8 of its rules and regulations (hereafter Rule 102) has exceeded the authority to regulate which was conferred on it by the legislature.

The Board was authorized by the Environmental Protection Act to promulgate procedural and substantive regulations to govern refuse disposal and air, water, land and noise pollution. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1971, ch. 111 1/2, par. 1027.

Referring to pollution by noise, section 24 of the Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1971, ch. 111 1/2, par. 1024) provides:

"No person shall emit beyond the boundaries of his property any noise that unreasonably interferes with the enjoyment of life or with any lawful business or activity, so as to violate any regulation or standard adopted by the Board under this Act."

Section 25 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 111 1/2, par. 1025), after authorizing the Board to adopt regulations prescribing "limitations on noise emissions beyond the boundaries of the property of any person," states: "The Board shall, by regulations under this section, categorize the types and sources of noise emissions that unreasonably interfere with the enjoyment of life, or with any lawful business, or activity, and shall prescribe for each such category the maximum permissible limits on such noise emissions."

Rule 102 of the Board, which the petitioner questions, provides:

"No person shall cause or allow the emission of sound beyond the boundaries of his property so as to cause noise pollution in Illinois, or so as to violate any provision of this Chapter [these regulations] or the Illinois Environmental Protection Act."

Rule 101(j) of Chapter 8 of the Board's rules and regulations defines noise pollution:

"The emission of sound that unreasonably interferes with the enjoyment of life or with any lawful business or activity."

The contention is that the Board is not only attempting through Rule 102 to regulate emissions of sound which unreasonably interfere with the enjoyment of life or with any lawful business or activity, as the statute (section 24) authorizes the Board to do, but also is attempting to regulate any other emission of sound which the Board may choose to prohibit.

However, Rule 102 is not, as a reasonable matter, to be given the restricted and isolated reading the petitioner would give it. The prohibition of section 24 is against causing noise emissions that unreasonably interfere with the enjoyment of life or with a lawful business or activity. The basic violation was to be unreasonably interfering through noise with the enjoyment of life or lawful activity, and it is clear that it was contemplated by the legislature that the Board would adopt standards or regulations to define or identify noise emissions which constituted such unreasonable interference. This is evidenced by section 25, which specifically states that the Board shall categorize the types and sources of ...


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