Illinois State Legislature Sends Bill Banning Cook County Landfills to Governor Quinn

Over the past few months, residents along Chicago’s southeastern border and in the southern suburb of Dolton have been concerned that a landfill owned by the Land and Lakes waste disposal company might be expanded.  That scenario may be averted as the Illinois House passed House Bill 3881, which will halt expansion of any landfills in Cook County (which includes all of Chicago and Dolton).

A measure to halt the expansion of landfills in Cook County survived a House vote on Wednesday despite multiple concerns about circumventing local authority.

With a heavy hand from environmental lobby groups as well as support from the Chicago City Council, the bill passed by a 62-49 count and is now headed to Gov. Pat Quinn.

Under current state law, the authority to create or expand landfills rests with the city or county in which it resides.

The city of Chicago has enforced a moratorium on landfill expansion for about 27 years. However, the city is being sued by the Park Ridge-based Land and Lakes waste disposal company, which wants the city to give up a piece of land on the far Southeast Side and attach it to the community of Dolton, which does not have a landfill ban.

Proponents of the legislation claimed that it was purely an environmental issue, and codifying the Chicago moratorium would have no effect on local authorities.

“This bill does not affect home rule,” said the bill’s chief sponsor, Rep. Marcus Evans (D-Chicago). “I want everybody to be aware of that.”

The siting of waste management facilities in majority African American portions of the Chicago metropolitan area has been observed for more than twenty years, including illegal dump sites on Chicago’s South Side, a proposed incinerator in Robbins, and the aforementioned landfill. A downtown version of Roosevelt University’s seminar SUST 240 Waste will likely be offered in Fall 2012, considering how and where modern society manages its wastes. For more information on the seminar or any other of our courses, visit our Sustainability Studies website, call 1-877-277-5978 (1-877-APPLY RU) or email

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