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People v. Pollution Control Board

OPINION FILED DECEMBER 27, 1984.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, RESPONDENT,

v.

THE POLLUTION CONTROL BOARD, RESPONDENT (SANTA FE PARK ENTERPRISES, INC., PETITIONER).



Petition for review of order of Pollution Control Board.

JUSTICE JIGANTI DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Rehearing denied January 23, 1985.

This appeal involves the constitutionality of an enactment by the Illinois General Assembly which excludes from the regulatory purview of the Illinois Pollution Control Board (the Board) noise emissions emanating from sporting events. The People of the State of Illinois, represented by the Attorney General, initiated this action in March, 1976, by filing with the Board a complaint against Santa Fe Park Enterprises, Inc. (Santa Fe), a corporation owning and operating a motor racing facility, alleging that Santa Fe had violated through certain noise emissions section 24 of the Environmental Protection Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 111 1/2, par. 1024) and Pollution Control Board Rule 102 (35 Ill. Adm. Code 900.102).

During the pendency of this proceeding, the Illinois General Assembly, on two separate occasions, enacted legislation intended to remove from the Board's jurisdiction complaints concerning noise emissions from sporting events, and particularly to prohibit enforcement of the Board's noise regulations applicable to motor sports facilities. When the first exemption statute became effective in October 1978, the Board dismissed the instant complaint and the Attorney General appealed. In that case, People v. Pollution Control Board (1980), 83 Ill. App.3d 802, 404 N.E.2d 352, this court held the exemption statute unconstitutional as an improper delegation of law-making powers and remanded the cause for further proceedings.

In September, 1981, the General Assembly enacted Public Act 82-654, the statute involved in the instant appeal. Public Act 82-654 served to exclude from the Board's regulatory purview "organized amateur or professional sporting activity," which includes "motor sports." Thereafter, on September 23, 1983, the Board issued an order wherein it declared that Public Act 82-654 amounted to an unreasonable limitation of the Illinois Constitution's article XI, section 2, right to a healthful environment, and thus was unconstitutional. Santa Fe then, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 308 (87 Ill.2d R. 308), filed application for an interlocutory appeal to this court, raising the following certified question of law on appeal:

"Whether the Board correctly determined that Public Act 82-654 is a constitutionally impermissible legislative enactment."

The source of law which gives rise to the instant dispute is found in article XI of the Illinois Constitution of 1970. (Ill. Const. 1970, art. XI.) Article XI provides:

"Sec. 1. Public Policy — Legislative Responsibility

The public policy of the State and the duty of each person is to provide and maintain a healthful environment for the benefit of this and future generations. The General Assembly shall provide by law for the implementation and enforcement of this public policy.

Sec. 2. Rights of Individuals

Each person has the right to a healthful environment. Each person may enforce this right against any party, governmental or private, through appropriate legal proceedings subject to reasonable limitation and regulation as the General Assembly may provide by law."

In order to implement the public policy to provide and maintain a healthful environment, the General Assembly enacted the Environmental Protection Act (EPA). (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch 111 1/2, par. 1001 et seq.) The EPA provides for the creation of the Pollution Control Board to define and regulate the environmental control standards for the State. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 111 1/2, par. 1005.) Further, the Board derives its jurisdiction to entertain complaints such as the original complaint from section 24 of the EPA, which states:

"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." Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 111 1/2, par. 1024.

The Board's noise regulations, which directly form the basis for the instant complaint, were established pursuant to section 25 of the EPA (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 111 ...


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