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Illinois judge rules Trump International Hotel and Tower liable for environmental law violations

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CHICAGO (WGN) An Illinois judge ruled that the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago is liable for violating state environmental laws after using millions of gallons of water from the Chicago River to cool its air-conditioning systems without a valid permit.

The Office of Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul said the tower uses more than 19 million gallons of river water a day before returning the water to the river at a warmer temperature.

The Trump Hotel had obtained a permit, but missed a 2017 deadline to renew it.

Raoul’s office said the Trump Hotel has been in violation of state law for more than three years following the expiration of the permit.

The complaint from Raoul’s office asked for the maximum penalty, which would charge $50,000 each for two violations and an extra $10,000 for each day the violations continued.

“The court found that the defendant is liable for violations of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act, Illinois Pollution Control Board regulations, and NPDES permit requirements related to timely renewal of its permit.  While we are pleased with the decision, this does not conclude the litigation.  No one is exempt from compliance with the laws that protect Illinois’ environment and most valuable natural resources, and we will continue to seek to hold the defendants accountable for violations of state environmental laws that jeopardized the quality of the Chicago River,” his office said.

The fines could add up to more than $12 million if the maximum penalty were pursued.

The judge’s ruling Friday agreed that Trump’s hotel was in violation of state laws, but did not set a penalty and plans to address it in a subsequent hearing.

The Washington Post first reported this story.

The initial filing from previous Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and the ruling can be seen below:

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