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Rockford Drop Forge v. Pollution Cont. Bd.

OPINION FILED MARCH 21, 1980.

ROCKFORD DROP FORGE CO. ET AL., APPELLANTS AND CROSS-APPELLEES,

v.

THE POLLUTION CONTROL BOARD, APPELLEE AND CROSS-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Appellate Court for the Second District; heard in that court on petition for review of an order of the Pollution Control Board.

MR. JUSTICE WARD DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

The appellants, 22 Illinois forging companies and the Forging Industry Association (the forging companies), filed a petition directly in the Appellate Court for the Second District under the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 111 1/2, par. 1001 et seq.) to review rules adopted by the Pollution Control Board of the State of Illinois (the Board) for noise emissions from stationary, or "property line," sources. The rules were upheld by the appellate court (71 Ill. App.3d 295), and we granted the forging companies' petition for leave to appeal. The Board has taken a cross-appeal.

The forging companies contended in the appellate court that the noise pollution provisions of the Environmental Protection Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 111 1/2, pars. 1023 through 1025) were unconstitutional because of vagueness and improper delegation. The companies also asserted that the regulations exceeded the power granted the Board under the Act, which, according to the forging companies, confined the Board to the prevention of public nuisances. The companies asserted further that the regulations violated the equal protection clauses of the United States Constitution and the Constitution of Illinois because comparable rules had not been adopted for other sources of noise emissions. These claims are renewed on this appeal.

Two provisions of the Act are involved on this appeal. One is section 29 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 111 1/2, par. 1029), which provides:

"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 petition for review under Section 41 of this Act."

The other is section 41 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 111 1/2, par. 1041), which reads as follows:

"Any party to a Board hearing, any person who filed a complaint on which a hearing was denied, any person who has been denied a variance or permit under this Act, and any party adversely affected by a final order or determination of the Board may obtain judicial review, by filing a petition for review within thirty-five days after entry of the order or other final action complained of, pursuant to the provisions of the "Administration Review Act," approved May 8, 1945, as amended and the rules adopted pursuant thereto, except that review shall be afforded directly in the Appellate Court for the District in which the cause of action arose and not in the Circuit Court. Review of any rule or regulation promulgated by the Board shall not be limited by this section but may also be had as provided in Section 29 of this Act.

No challenge to the validity of a Board order shall be made in any enforcement proceeding under Title XII of this Act as to any issue that could have been raised in a timely petition for review under this Section."

Before addressing the merits of the forging companies' claims, we consider two procedural issues. The first is the Board's contention that venue for this proceeding was not in the second appellate district, and that the court should have dismissed the petition or transferred the proceeding to the Appellate Court for the First District, in which, according to the Board, the action should have been brought.

The question now under consideration centers on that portion of section 41 which states that review shall be had "in the Appellate Court for the District in which the cause of action arose" (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 111 1/2, par. 1041). The appellate court was of the opinion that the place where a cause of action arose was not clear, that it might be the district where the Board's headquarters were located or perhaps any district where one or more of the forging companies was located. The court noted that under the latter hypothesis a problem might arise since not all of the forging companies operated a plant within the second district. The opinion stated that since the parties had not argued or briefed the question, however, the court would proceed on the assumption that the petition was properly before it.

The Board asserts that the petition should have been filed in the Appellate Court for the First District because the order adopting the rules was entered at a meeting held at the Board's Chicago office, and because it is the adoption of a rule which creates the cause of action. Werner v. Illinois Central R.R. Co. (1942), 379 Ill. 559, 565.

As the appellate court pointed out, the venue issue was not briefed or argued by the parties in that court, and it is not clear from the record before us that the Board pursued its objection there. A reversal of the judgment below on the ground that the venue was improper, moreover, would further delay the disposition of this suit and thus would delay as well the resolution of the constitutional challenges to the Act which are made here. For these reasons we do not decide whether the action should have been brought in the Appellate Court for the First District, as the Board contends.

The second procedural question concerns the appellate court's refusal to consider the forging companies' challenges to the validity of the Act. One justice of the appellate court dissented from this holding, and it is criticized not only by the companies but also by the Board, although the latter states in its brief that it did not ...


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