Archive | March, 2012

Illinois Senate passes B-Corp Bill

30 Mar

The Illinois Senate passed Senate Bill 2897 on March 28.  The bill proposes a new type of corporate entity (like a C Corp or an LLC) known as a Benefit Corporation, otherwise known as a B-Corp.  B Corps would be required to incorporate the principles of sustainability into their Articles of Incorporation or Operating Agreement.  Proponents of B-Corps contend that integrating these principles into the “DNA” of the company allow business owners to send a strong message to consumers who wish to purchase from business that embrace the same principles.  Proponents also believe that B-Corps will allow businesses to follow their sustainability principles, while minimizing the risk of shareholder lawsuits alleging that directors have failed to maximize corporate profits and breached their fiduciary duties.  Some sectors have contested this second point, noting that the business judgment rule has given directors a wide degree of latitude in deciding what actions are in the best interest of the company, and that incorporating sustainability into business decisions does not run afoul of the directors’ fiduciary duty.  B-Corps legislation has already been passed in several states, most recently California, where Patagonia quickly became the first high profile California company to become a B-Corp.

We will provide an update on the bill’s progress in the House.

If you have any questions regarding B-Corps and sustainable business, contact us at 773-609-5320, info@thornenvironmentallaw.com, or through our web contact form.

Disclaimer: This article cannot, and does not, create any attorney/client or consultant/client relationship.

Madison County, IL ends asbestos trial reservations.

30 Mar

Judge Clarence Harrison, recently assigned to oversee the asbestos docket in Madison County, has ended the asbestos reservation system.  The practice had allowed law firms to reserve a trial date prior to actually filing a law suit.  Critics of the system argued that such a system allowed plaintiff firms effectively to shop their trial date.  Madison County has been a long standing destination for asbestos litigation, often averaging close to a thousand cases filed per year.  Needless to say it will be interesting to see what impact the removal of the reservation system has on the number of cases filed in the future.

If you have any questions regarding asbestos litigation, asbestos removal, and asbestos enforcement by the government, contact us at 773-609-5320, info@thornenvironmentallaw.com, or through our web contact form.

Disclaimer: This article cannot, and does not, create any attorney/client or consultant/client relationship.

Brownfield cleanup tax credit passes Illinois Senate (SB 3212)

29 Mar

The Illinois Senate has passed Senate Bill 3212 and the bill has now moved to the House.  SB 3212 creates a state income tax credit for projects in the IEPA’s Site Remediation Program which are approved by local authorities and will “create at least 10 new jobs, retain 25 jobs, or a combination thereof.”  75% of the credit can be taken in the year the credit is initially approved and the remaining 25% can be taken once a No Further Remediation (NFR) letter is received, although the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity will have the authority to withhold the remaining 25% until the required jobs are created and documented.  Parties responsible for the pollution are not allowed to receive the income tax credit.

Senate Bill 3212

If you have any questions regarding SB 3212 and brownfield remediation, contact us at 773-609-5320, info@thornenvironmentallaw.com, or through our web contact form.

Disclaimer: This article cannot, and does not, create any attorney/client or consultant/client relationship.

Asbestos defendants argue to end Madison County trial ‘reservation’ system

27 Mar

Madison County, in southern Illinois, has long been one of the major venues for asbestos litigation.  While there have been many reasons for Madison County to be selected, two of the more important reasons have been that the jury pool is heavily unionized and that a special docket system was devised that allowed plaintiff law firms to reserve a court date prior to filing a lawsuit.  Defendent law firms have repeated attacked this practice as discussed in the article below.

Asbestos defendants argue to end Madison County trial ‘reservation’ system.

If you have any questions regarding asbestos litigation, contact us at 773-609-5320, info@thornenvironmentallaw.com, or through our web contact form.

Disclaimer: This article cannot, and does not, create any attorney/client or consultant/client relationship.

Appealing Clean Air Act Title V permits

26 Mar

It goes without saying that the content of a new Title V permit or a Title V permit renewal can have a dramatic impact on a business.  Thus, the ability to appeal the provisions of a Title V permit is of the utmost importance.  In order to be best  prepared to appeal a Title V permit, a regulated entity needs to have its appeal team assembled and taking action even before the final permit is available.  Why?  The biggest issue is time.  While the federal regulations (4o CFR Part 70) suggest that a state permit program should allow an appeal to be filed within 90 days after issuance, states are allowed to have more strict time deadlines.  Most states require an appeal to be filed within 30 days, although some states only allow 15 days to file an appeal.  In Illinois an appeal must be filed within 35 days pursuant to 415 ILCS 5/40 .

Prior to the final Title V permit being issued by the state, the company should be able to review the proposed permit that was released for public comment and/or the the proposed permit that the state has sent US EPA for the 45 day review.  This affords the appeal team to review the permit to determine which terms may need to be appealed and even to begin preparing an appeal if it appears that important issues will be contested.  That being said, there is no guarantee that the final permit won’t vary from the proposed permit.  The final permit should be reviewed in depth.  The state permitting authority may alter the terms of the permit pursuant to comments from the business or the public (or may fail to address comments that should have been addressed).  Moreover, the permitting agency is not precluded from altering terms of the permit that received no comment.  As a result, all provisions of the permit must be reviewed, regardless of whether they were commented upon.

If you have any questions regarding the Clean Air Act or Title V permits, contact us at 773-609-5320, info@thornenvironmentallaw.com, or through our web contact form.

Disclaimer: This article cannot, and does not, create any attorney/client or consultant/client relationship.

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