Wells Mfg. Co. v. Pollution Control Bd., Nos. 49643

CourtSupreme Court of Illinois
Writing for the CourtUNDERWOOD; GOLDENHERSH; CLARK
Citation383 N.E.2d 148,22 Ill.Dec. 672,73 Ill.2d 226
Decision Date06 October 1978
Docket NumberNos. 49643,49645
Parties, 22 Ill.Dec. 672 WELLS MANUFACTURING COMPANY, Appellee, v. The POLLUTION CONTROL BOARD et al. Appeal of the ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY.

Page 148

383 N.E.2d 148
73 Ill.2d 226, 22 Ill.Dec. 672
WELLS MANUFACTURING COMPANY, Appellee,
v.
The POLLUTION CONTROL BOARD et al.
Appeal of the ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY.
Nos. 49643, 49645.
Supreme Court of Illinois.
Oct. 6, 1978.
Rehearing Denied Dec. 1, 1978.

[73 Ill.2d 230]

Page 149

[22 Ill.Dec. 673] William J. Scott, Atty. Gen., Springfield (Michael A. Benedetto, Jr., Asst. Atty. Gen., Chicago, of counsel), for appellant Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

Michael R. Berman, Chicago, for appellant Citizens for a Better Environment.

Rooks, Pitts, Fullagar & Poust, Chicago (Joseph S. Wright, Jr. and Dixie L. Laswell, Chicago, of counsel), for appellee.

[73 Ill.2d 231] UNDERWOOD, Justice:

This case involves consolidated complaints by the Environmental Protection Agency (Agency) and Citizens for a Better Environment (CBE) against Wells Manufacturing

Page 150

[22 Ill.Dec. 674] Company (Wells). The complaints allege violations of sections 9(a) and 9(b) of the Environmental Protection Act (Ill.Rev.Stat.1971, ch. 111 1/2, pars. 1009(a), (b)) concerning air pollution and failure to possess an operating permit. After extensive hearings, the Illinois Pollution Control Board (Board) found Wells guilty of air pollution and failure to possess a permit and levied fines of $8,500 and $500 respectively. The Board additionally ordered that an abatement plan, a performance bond, and periodic progress reports be submitted. On review (Ill.Rev.Stat.1971, ch. 111 1/2, par. 1041; ch. 110, par. 264 Et seq.) the Appellate Court for the First District found the Board had inadequately considered certain statutory factors, and after itself reviewing the relevant criteria, determined the Board's order was unreasonable, capricious and arbitrary. Accordingly, the appellate court reversed the Board's order and instructed the Board to grant Wells an operating permit. (48 Ill.App.3d 337, 6 Ill.Dec. 497, 363 N.E.2d 26.) We granted leave to appeal.

Wells operates an iron foundry in an industrial area of Skokie, immediately adjacent to Niles Township Community High School, West Division, and about one-half mile from a residential section of the village of Morton Grove. The foundry, which employs approximately 500 persons, was constructed in 1947 and produces castings for use in various industries. Wells is, in fact, the sole supplier of certain parts for automobile-power-steering units. A casting is a part formed by adding molten metal to a mold. As relevant here, Wells' use of phenol-formaldehyde resins to mold the castings in shell molds produces odors characterized as resembling those from burning rubber.

[73 Ill.2d 232] The amended complaints filed by the Agency and CBE against Wells allege these odors violate section 9(a) of the Environmental Protection Act, which specifies that no person shall "(c)ause or threaten or allow the discharge or emission of any contaminant into the environment in any State so as to cause or tend to cause air pollution in Illinois * * * " (Ill.Rev.Stat.1971, ch. 111 1/2, par. 1009(a)). A "contaminant" is defined to include "any odor" (Ill.Rev.Stat.1971, ch. 111 1/2, par. 1003(d)); and "air pollution" is defined as "the presence in the atmosphere of one or more contaminants in sufficient quantities and of such characteristics and duration as to be injurious to human, plant, or animal life, to health, or to property, Or to unreasonably interfere with the enjoyment of life or property." (Emphasis added.) (Ill.Rev.Stat.1971, ch. 111 1/2, par. 1003(b).) The Agency's amended complaint also alleges a related violation of section 9(b) of the Environmental Protection Act, which proscribes the operation of any facility capable of causing air pollution without a permit (Ill.Rev.Stat.1971, ch. 111 1/2, par. 1009(b)).

The principal difficulty in cases such as this lies in the need to define the level at which interference becomes "unreasonable" in this statutory context. (See Processing & Books, Inc. v. Pollution Control Board (1976),64 Ill.2d 68, 76-77, 351 N.E.2d 865.) The Board must balance the costs and benefits of abatement in an effort to distinguish "the trifling inconvenience, petty annoyance or minor discomfort" from "a substantial interference with the enjoyment of life and property." See Processing & Books, Inc. v. Pollution Control Board (1976), 64 Ill.2d 68, 77, 351 N.E.2d 865, and cases there cited; Currie, Enforcement Under the Illinois Pollution Law, 70 Nw.U.L.Rev. 389, 416-19 (1975).

Section 33(c) of the Environmental Protection Act specifies several factors which the Board must consider in arriving at its decisions:

"In making its orders and determinations, the Board [73 Ill.2d 233] shall take into consideration all the facts and circumstances bearing upon the reasonableness of the emissions, discharges or deposits involved including, but not limited to:

(i) the character and degree of injury to, or interference with the protection of the health, general welfare and physical property of the people;

(ii) the social and economic value of the pollution source;

Page 151

[22 Ill.Dec. 675] (iii) the suitability or unsuitability of the pollution source to the area in which it is located, including the question of priority of location in the area involved; and

(iv) the technical practicability and economic reasonableness of reducing or eliminating the emissions, discharges or deposits resulting from such pollution source.

* * * " (Ill.Rev.Stat.1971, ch. 111 1/2, par. 1033(c).)

The unreasonableness of alleged air pollution of the type involved here must be determined with reference to these statutory criteria. Mystik Tape v. Pollution Control Board (1975), 60 Ill.2d 330, 328 N.E.2d 5; Incinerator, Inc. v. Pollution Control Board (1974), 59 Ill.2d 290, 319 N.E.2d 594; City of Monmouth v. Pollution Control Board (1974), 57 Ill.2d 482, 313 N.E.2d 161.

The Act places the burden of proof on the Agency or other complainant to show that the respondent has caused or threatened to cause air pollution, which in the context of this case means unreasonable interference with the enjoyment of life or property. (Ill.Rev.Stat.1971, ch. 111 1/2, par. 1031(c); Incinerator, Inc. v. Pollution Control Board (1974), 59 Ill.2d 290, 300, 319 N.E.2d 594.) This does not mean, however, that the Board must find against the respondent on Each of the four statutory criteria of section 33(c), or that the Board is precluded from considering additional relevant factors. (Processing & Books, Inc. v. Pollution Control Board (1976), 64 Ill.2d 68, 75-77, 351 N.E.2d 865.) Reference to the statutory criteria, in conjunction with the requirement that the Board's opinions be written and set forth the facts and reasons for its decision (Ill.Rev.Stat.1971, ch. 111 1/2, [73 Ill.2d 234] par. 1033(a)), insures that consideration of those criteria is undertaken by the Board, provides guidelines to govern the conduct of those affected by the Act, and facilitates meaningful judicial review. See Mystik Tape v. Pollution Control Board (1975), 60 Ill.2d 330, 336, 328 N.E.2d 5.

On review, the court is entitled to consider all of the evidence presented by the entire record; the findings and conclusions of the Board on questions of fact are Prima facie true and correct. (Ill.Rev.Stat.1971, ch. 110, par. 274; ch. 111 1/2, par. 1041.) The provisions of the Environmental Protection Act make it clear that the Board is possessed of expertise and that it has broad discretionary powers. (See City of Monmouth v. Pollution Control Board (1974), 57 Ill.2d 482, 490, 313 N.E.2d 161.) It is equally clear, however, that the Board's adjudicatory orders and determinations are subject to judicial review (Ill.Rev.Stat.1971, ch. 111 1/2, par. 1041), and in order to be sustained must not be contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence. (E. g. Incinerator, Inc. v. Pollution Control Board (1974), 59 Ill.2d 290, 296, 319 N.E.2d 594; City of Monmouth v. Pollution Control Board (1974), 57 Ill.2d 482, 488, 313 N.E.2d 161.) Thus our responsibility, as was that of the appellate court, is to evaluate all of the evidence on the record in the context of the section 33 criteria to determine whether the Board's findings are contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence.

We add, parenthetically, that in holding the Board's action to be "unreasonable, capricious and arbitrary" (48 Ill.App.3d 337, 341, 6 Ill.Dec. 497, 363 N.E.2d 26), the appellate court went beyond the appropriate standard of review. As stated above, adjudicatory, quasi-judicial functions of the Board are reviewed to determine whether the Board's action is contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence. It is the Board's rule-making, quasi-legislative functions, not applicable here, which invoke the arbitrary, unreasonable, or capricious standard of review. See Monsanto Co. v. [73 Ill.2d 235] Pollution Control Board (1977), 67 Ill.2d 276, 288-91, 10 Ill.Dec. 231, 367 N.E.2d 684.

Applying the statutory criteria to the evidence,...

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16 practice notes
  • E & E Hauling, Inc. v. Pollution Control Bd., No. 82-701
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • 15 Junio 1983
    ...Board's findings the respect customarily accorded fact findings of administrative agencies. See Wells Mfg. Co. v. Pollution Control Bd., 73 Ill.2d 226, 22 Ill.Dec. 672, 383 N.E.2d 148 (1978); Nolting v. Civil Service Commission, 7 Ill.App.2d 147, 148, 129 N.E.2d 236 Roscoe Craft, an environ......
  • State Citizen Suits, Standing, and the Underutilization of State Environmental Law
    • United States
    • Environmental Law Reporter Nbr. 52-6, June 2022
    • 1 Junio 2022
    ..., 627 N.E.2d 1129 (Ill. App. Ct. 1993); Wells Manufacturing Co. v. Pollution Control Board , 363 N.E.2d 26 (Ind. App. Ct. 1977), af’d , 383 N.E.2d 148 (Ill. 1978) (explaining that standards for “unreasonable interference with the enjoyment of life or property” within the statutory deinition......
  • Eastman Kodak Co. v. Fair Employment Practices Commission, No. 53535
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • 26 Junio 1981
    ...cert. denied (1971), 403 U.S. 918, 91 S.Ct. 2229, 29 L.Ed.2d 695. See also Wells Manufacturing Co. v. Pollution Control Board (1978), 73 Ill.2d 226, 234, 22 Ill.Dec. 672, 383 N.E.2d 148; Basketfield v. Police Board (1974), 56 Ill.2d 351, 358, 307 N.E.2d 371.) Thus, in a review by the Commis......
  • Waste Management of Illinois, Inc. v. Illinois Pollution Control Bd., No. 1-89-2541
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • 20 Julio 1990
    ...leading to its decision. (Ill.Rev.Stat.1987, ch. 111 1/2, par. 1033(a); Wells Manufacturing Co. v. Pollution Control Board (1978), 73 Ill.2d 226, 233-34, 22 Ill.Dec. 672, 675, 383 N.E.2d 148, 151; Mystik Tape v. Pollution Control Board (1975), 60 Ill.2d 330, 336, 328 N.E.2d 5, 8; Clean Air ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
15 cases
  • E & E Hauling, Inc. v. Pollution Control Bd., No. 82-701
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • 15 Junio 1983
    ...Board's findings the respect customarily accorded fact findings of administrative agencies. See Wells Mfg. Co. v. Pollution Control Bd., 73 Ill.2d 226, 22 Ill.Dec. 672, 383 N.E.2d 148 (1978); Nolting v. Civil Service Commission, 7 Ill.App.2d 147, 148, 129 N.E.2d 236 Roscoe Craft, an environ......
  • Eastman Kodak Co. v. Fair Employment Practices Commission, No. 53535
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • 26 Junio 1981
    ...cert. denied (1971), 403 U.S. 918, 91 S.Ct. 2229, 29 L.Ed.2d 695. See also Wells Manufacturing Co. v. Pollution Control Board (1978), 73 Ill.2d 226, 234, 22 Ill.Dec. 672, 383 N.E.2d 148; Basketfield v. Police Board (1974), 56 Ill.2d 351, 358, 307 N.E.2d 371.) Thus, in a review by the Commis......
  • Waste Management of Illinois, Inc. v. Illinois Pollution Control Bd., No. 1-89-2541
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • 20 Julio 1990
    ...leading to its decision. (Ill.Rev.Stat.1987, ch. 111 1/2, par. 1033(a); Wells Manufacturing Co. v. Pollution Control Board (1978), 73 Ill.2d 226, 233-34, 22 Ill.Dec. 672, 675, 383 N.E.2d 148, 151; Mystik Tape v. Pollution Control Board (1975), 60 Ill.2d 330, 336, 328 N.E.2d 5, 8; Clean Air ......
  • People v. Holdman, No. 49985
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • 6 Octubre 1978
    ...to include returning these defendants to the place where Ross identified them. The appellate court pointed out correctly that on the [73 Ill.2d 226] night in question "Ross could only give a general description of his robbers as two male Negroes in their late teens, between 5 feet 8 in......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • State Citizen Suits, Standing, and the Underutilization of State Environmental Law
    • United States
    • Environmental Law Reporter Nbr. 52-6, June 2022
    • 1 Junio 2022
    ..., 627 N.E.2d 1129 (Ill. App. Ct. 1993); Wells Manufacturing Co. v. Pollution Control Board , 363 N.E.2d 26 (Ind. App. Ct. 1977), af’d , 383 N.E.2d 148 (Ill. 1978) (explaining that standards for “unreasonable interference with the enjoyment of life or property” within the statutory deinition......

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