The Illinois Supreme Court has ruled 5-2 that environmental groups lack standing to challenge an order issued by the Illinois Pollution Control Board (Board) to a disposal company excluding certain residue it produced from hazardous waste regulation. Sierra Club v. Illinois Pollution Control Bd., No. 2011 IL 110882 (Ill. 10/27/11).

In 2008, the company filed an adjusted standard petition with the Board seeking to revise its permit by delisting (i.e., excluding) the residue generated by the company’s treatment of electric arc furnace dust from hazardous waste regulation. After a public hearing, the Board granted the company a delisting adjusted standard, subject to several conditions. The Sierra Club and Peoria Families Against Toxic Waste appealed the Board’s order to an Illinois appeals court which affirmed the order, although two judges dissented—one based on lack of standing and one on the merits. The groups filed a petition for review with the state supreme court.

The majority ruled that the environmental groups do not fall under any Illinois Environmental Protection Act categories of entities that can appeal a final Board determination made under a section of the statute governing adjusted standards; thus, the groups lacked standing to challenge the order. The majority rejected the groups’ argument that the order issued to the company was actually a rule or regulation which they could challenge as adversely affected entities. The dissent opined that the groups had standing to challenge the Board’s order, adopting the groups’ argument.