A newspaper analysis of enforcement data show that penalties sought from state polluters have dropped to $6.1 million since Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner took office in 2015.
According to the Chicago Tribune analysis, that’s about two-thirds less than the inflation-adjusted amount demanded during the first three years under former Democrat governors Pat Quinn and Rod Blagojevich.
The decline is partly because the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has cut back on referring cases to the state attorney general’s office for civil or criminal prosecution.
Attorney General Lisa Madigan says failing to “investigate and refer violations of the laws has dangerous consequences for people’s health and the environment.”
Federal records show Illinois is among the nation’s top 10 states for the amount of pollution released into the environment annually.