IFB, coalition: Legislation costly, unnecessary burden on state economy

Under proposed bills, anyone in the world could challenge state agency decisions.

By Kay Shipman

State legislation would add unnecessary costs and delays through lawsuits when neither the state’s economy nor business sectors can afford it, Illinois Farm Bureau and business coalition members warned.

During a statehouse news conference, Bill Bodine, IFB associate director of state legislation, said SB 3005 and HB 5119 would “bring economic development by agriculture to a halt at a time when farmers can least afford it.”

The bills propose to amend state law and allow any person who feels negatively impacted by a state agency decision to sue. As amended, SB 3005 specifies decisions by five state agencies – the Environmental Protection Agency and the departments of agriculture, natural resources, public health and transportation. The bill focuses on environmental resources, including water, air, threatened or endangered species and state parks or natural areas.

Bill Bodine, Illinois Farm Bureau associate director of state legislation
Bill Bodine, Illinois Farm Bureau associate director of state legislation

The bills would allow “anyone in the world” to legally challenge the state agencies’ decisions and add “new facts and legal arguments,” significant time and costs to economic development, said Mark Denzler, Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA) vice president.

Anything that would add costs and delays “would have a very chilling effect, especially on growth in the agriculture economy and on farmers’ decisions,” Bodine added.

Bodine and Denzler noted the legislative proposals are unnecessary because the state offers legal remedies and regulatory protection of Illinois resources.

Using a new livestock farm as an example, Bodine explained the state allows people who may be directly impacted by a proposed farm to file a lawsuit before a facility is built and after it is in operation. In addition, Illinois has regulations to protect the environment regarding the siting and construction of a livestock farm and the farm’s operation.

This legislation could drag court cases on for multiple years and add hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs to projects, Denzler said.

In addition to IFB and IMA, coalition members include the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, the Illinois Association of Aggregate Producers and the Illinois Petroleum Council.

Content for this story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.

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