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Missing Out on Holiday Scents? -- The ISBA Discusses the Open Burning of Refuse

Question: Our neighbors burn garbage, leaves and other refuse, and the smell is not only awful but it bothers our daughter who has asthma. We complained to the town officials who haven’t done anything to stop it. Do we have legal recourse? Answer: The Illinois Environmental Protection Act prohibits the open burning of refuse.  Landscape waste generated onsite is not considered refuse under the Act, however, the burning of landscape waste may be regulated by local ordinance. Consider contacting the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency if you believe that your neighbors are burning refuse or garbage. You may also consider hiring a local pollution expert to test the air and determine if any state, federal or local laws are being broken. If laws are being violated, contact your local officials or the Illinois Attorney General with the test results. You may also want to have a lawyer send a letter to your neighbors with the results of the test, stating that you may file a lawsuit unless the burning stops.   For more information about Illinois law, visit www.illinoislawyerfinder.com. If you have a legal question, send it to illinoislawcolumn@isba.org. Illinois Law Now is a series of newspaper and internet posts prepared by the Illinois State Bar Association that address legal issues of interest to the public. For additional information about the law, visit http://www.illinoislawyerfinder.com/legal-faqs

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