This probably won’t shock anybody familiar with former President Trump’s disdain for eco-friendly policies, but Judge Sophia H. Hall ruled last Friday that the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago violated Illinois’ environmental laws. The hotel’s heating and cooling systems sucked almost 20 million gallons a day from the Chicago River with no concern for the 30 types of fish that call the river home.
The case started in 2018, when it came to public attention that the Trump hotel was the only downtown Chicago high-rise that had failed to follow regulations to protect fish in the waterway. All large facilities that draw water directly from lakes and rivers are required to follow both state and federal regulations that limit fish killed by changes in temperature or pressure as well as deaths of fish that become pinned to intake screens. The speed at which Trump International Hotel & Tower was siphoning out water could fill an Olympic-sized pool in under an hour. To make matters even more dire for river life, the hotel later pumped the water back into the river 35°F hotter.
At an upcoming hearing on March 11, officials will debate how the hotel will be penalized. Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office is going for $50,000-a-day fines, plus an extra $10,000 for every day the hotel continued to violate the law. This could add up to a whopping $12 million. Unfortunately, defendants usually manage to settle with the state for a lot less.
“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,” Raoul said in a statement.
In the past, Trump Towers’ representatives have dismissed the lawsuit as politically motivated. The bluegill, white perch, walleye and largemouth bass were unable to comment, as they were busy fighting for their lives against the hotel’s filtration system.
Image via Ashleigh Nushawg