Citing numerous violations of the federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act, the Citizens Opposing Pollution filed a 60-day intent to sue notice with the Department of the Interior unless it takes over the state's enforcement program.
Illinois-based attorney Penni Livingstone wrote to the DOI on the lobby’s behalf.
“The citizens of Illinois are without adequate means to fulfill the intent of the law and to bring about compliance through enforcement as intended by the law
“Forbidden site conditions that poison our drinking water and allow violators to save millions of dollars not complying with long-standing environmental requirements are not consistent with the purpose or meaning of the applicable law and such conditions constitute injustice to our citizens, our system, and our planet” the letter read.
After a similar petition by the West Virginia Citizen Action for Real Enforcement Campaign, the DOI's Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement agreed to investigate various violations and regulatory failure by West Virginia's Department of Environmental Protection.
It is hoped that the court action will give citizens the right to hold regulation violators accountable and take necessary legal action.
The Illinois law suit comes at a time when state mining regulatory agencies have been publically criticised on the heels of the West Virginia and North Carolina coal ash and slurry disasters.