Report – Illinois EPA Reduced by 38% Over the Last Decade, More Than Any Other State Environment Agency in U.S.

By Benjamin Cox on December 5, 2019 at 3:23pm

A Chicago Tribune report from October 2018 found that the JBS Pork Plant in Beardstown to be the biggest nitrogen polluter of waterways in U.S. It's one of many instances the report cites as a lack of federal oversight and deep cuts at the Illinois EPA over the last decade.

Illinois Environmental Protection Agency cut staffing by 38 percent over the last decade, making it the state with the deepest job cuts to environmental protection in the United States, according to a study released nationally today by the Environmental Integrity Project.

According to the study, Illinois eliminated 389 full-time equivalent positions over the last decade at the agency. The state also slashed funding for pollution control programs by the IEPA by 27%, down to just $192 million last year. According to the report, enforcement of environment law violations have been cut in half since 2008. An average of 80 cases per year have been referred for prosecution to the Illinois Attorney General’s office. According to the report, there have been 86 referrals this year. Illinois is also home of the most coal ash dumps in the United States. The report cites 18 locations in the state that are leaking toxic chemicals into groundwater from the coal ash dumps according to local utility records mandated by the state.

Beardstown’s wastewater treatment plant was cited as one of 10 locations that are currently in significant non-compliance with the federal Clean Water Act in the report’s overall profile of the state.

The aim of the report was to highlight how the transition of power from federal EPA oversight was sent back to state environment agencies has been problematic when it comes to enforcement of laws and protection of the overall environment.

To read the full report, follow this link.