An Illinois judge has ruled that the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago is liable for violating two state environmental laws by sucking up millions of gallons of water daily from the Chicago River without a valid permit.
The Chicago Tribune reported in 2018 that Donald Trump’s building was the only major downtown user of the water that was ignoring state and federal laws aimed at protecting fish in the reviving river.
Total fines for the violations could be as much as $12 million, local WGN9-TV reported. State Attorney General Kwame Raoul is demanding the maximum penalty.
Cook County Circuit Court Judge Sophia Hall decided late last month in a ruling made public Friday that the Trump building violated both the Illinois Environmental Protection Act and the Illinois Pollution Control Board Regulations, and that penalties will be determined after a hearing in March.
The riverfront Trump building has been using the water to cool the ventilating, heating and air conditioning system. It sucks up nearly 20 million gallons of river water a day before returning the water 35 degrees hotter, according to the suit, which was joined by the Sierra Club and Friends of the Chicago River. Fish are often killed as they’re sucked against filter screens, and also suffer the effects of the warmed water. There are some 30 different types of fish in the river.
“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,” said a statement from Raoul’s office.
Representatives of Trump Tower did not immediately respond to a request for comment from HuffPost. They have said in the past that the case was a politically motivated vendetta against the Republican president, according to the Tribune.
Calling all HuffPost superfans!
Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost’s next chapter