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People v. Pollution Control Bd.

OPINION FILED APRIL 10, 1980.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PETITIONER,

v.

THE POLLUTION CONTROL BOARD ET AL., RESPONDENTS.



PETITION for review of order of Pollution Control Board.

MR. JUSTICE JIGANTI DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Rehearing denied May 15, 1980.

On March 26, 1976, the Illinois Attorney General filed a complaint with the Illinois Pollution Control Board (the Board). The complaint alleged that from August 10, 1973, to the date of the complaint the respondent, Santa Fe Park Enterprises, Inc. (Santa Fe), caused or allowed the emission of sound beyond the boundaries of its motor vehicle racing facility so as to cause noise pollution in violation of certain statutes and regulations. During the pendency of the hearings before the Board, the Environmental Protection Act (the Act) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 111 1/2, par. 1001 et seq.) was amended so as to totally exempt certain sporting events from noise emission standards and limitations. The Board subsequently granted Santa Fe's motion to dismiss which was predicated on the recently enacted amendment. The Attorney General appeals from the dismissal.

The Environmental Protection Act contains 13 separate titles, encompassing particular subjects such as air pollution, water pollution, public water supplies, land pollution, noise pollution and atomic radiation; other titles contain general provisions concerning regulations, enforcement, variances, permits, judicial review and penalties.

The subject of title VI, which contains three sections, is noise pollution. Santa Fe is charged with violation of section 24 of that title which provides:

"No person shall emit beyond the boundaries of his property any noise that unreasonably interfers [sic] 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." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 111 1/2, par. 1024.)

In a recent opinion, Rockford Drop Forge Co. v. Pollution Control Board (1980), 79 Ill.2d 271, 402 N.E.2d 602, the Illinois Supreme Court rejected an argument that section 24 was unconstitutional because of vagueness and improper delegation.

Section 25 of the Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 111 1/2, par. 1025) permits the Board to adopt regulations prescribing limitations on noise emissions. Pursuant to this authority the Board adopted Rules and Regulations, chapter 8 of which contains noise regulations. Santa Fe is charged with violating Rule 102 of those regulations, which 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 or the Illinois Environmental Protection Act."

Rule 101 of chapter 8 defines a number of terms. "Noise pollution" is defined in Rule 101(j) as:

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

While the hearings on the Attorney General's complaint were in progress before the Board, the Act was amended by the addition of a paragraph to section 25, the provision which gives the Board authority to adopt rules and regulations. The new paragraph in effect provides that Board standards and regulations for monitoring noise shall not be applied to certain sporting events:

"However, no Board standards for monitoring noise or regulations prescribing limitations on noise emissions shall apply to skeet, trap or shooting sports clubs chartered and operational prior to January 1, 1975, which are situated in the same location in which they were situated prior to January 1, 1975 or to any sanctioned motor racing event at a motor racing facility in existence prior to January 1, 1975, or any other sporting event sanctioned by the American Athletic Union, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, or the Illinois High School Association." (Emphasis added.) (Ill. Ann. Stat., ch. 111 1/2, par. 1025 (Smith-Hurd 1979 Supp.).)

In addition, the Act was amended to add a definition of "sanctioned sporting event":

"(v) `Sanctioned sporting event' means any contest or demonstration conducted in accordance with the standards, rules and with the endorsement of the United States Auto Club, or the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, or the Association for Motor Sports, or the American Athletic Union, or the National Collegiate Athletic ...


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