CHICAGO — Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul filed an amended lawsuit Thursday against Trump Tower — alleging the property is continuing to break environmental laws by “significantly underreporting” the average daily volume of water it discharges into the Chicago River.
His office initially filed a lawsuit against Trump Tower in 2018 following violations of Illinois environmental laws. At the time, Raoul stated the property was using water from the Chicago River to cool its air-conditioning systems without a valid permit.
Trump Tower still uses the system that is capable of pulling in more than 20 million gallons of river water a day before returning the water at a warmer temperature, according to Raoul. In Feb. 2021, an Illinois judge ruled that Trump International Hotel and Tower was liable for violating state environmental laws.
Raoul’s office then later entered into an agreed interim order that required Trump Tower to follow the terms of its expired National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit and report the average daily volume of heated water it discharges into the river every month.
Raoul said prior to its permit expiring, Trump Tower had been submitting monthly discharge monitoring reports since 2013.
An expert witness for the Sierra Club and Friends of the Chicago River examined raw data provided by Trump Tower during discovery while the lawsuit was pending, according to Raoul.
When comparing flow data by the property’s automated system and the data Trump Tower reported to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), Raoul alleges there was a “significant discrepancy” — which prompted his office to file Thursday’s amended lawsuit based on a IEPA referral.
“Even after the state of Illinois took steps to hold Trump Tower accountable for violations of state and federal environmental laws, violations have continued — underscoring a disregard for the laws and regulations that are in place to protect our waterways and aquatic life,” Raoul said. “I am committed to enforcing our environmental laws and ensuring that all entities are held accountable for violations of those laws.”
WGN News has reached out to Trump Tower for a statement and have not heard back at this time.