Judge Schedules January Hearing For Illinois River Barge Fleet Permit

Grundy County (Ill.) Judge Sheldon Sobol will hold a hearing on January 28, 2022, at which he’ll be asked to rule definitively on a barge fleeting permit. Illinois & Michigan Oil LLC has been seeking to have up to 106 barges fleeted along a 1.6-mile stretch of the Illinois River east of Seneca for transferring products.

Some local property owners are objecting.

In November, Sobol ruled that the Illinois Department of Natural Resources lacks authority to permit such a business on the Illinois River. Sobol said it would take an act of the General Assembly to change that. However, he also ruled that Rick and Gloria Sims, the husband and wife who sued the state, don’t have a legal basis to sue as parties of record in the permit process. Sobol’s rulings leave the case on an uncertain basis. The Rock Island Engineer District is reviewing the permit application. 

Derek Egan, chief operations officer of Joliet-based Illinois & Michigan Oil, told local news sources earlier this year that the company has a strong respect for the environment, local economy and any impacts the proposed fleet may have on the public.

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