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Governor Rauner Announces Key Appointments to Illinois Energy and Environmental Agencies

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner recently announced that he has made important appointments to the Illinois Commerce Commission ("ICC") and the Illinois Pollution Control Board ("IPCB"). The attorneys in Clark Hill's Environment, Energy & Natural Resources practice group regularly practice before these administrative agencies, which are involved in nearly every aspect of energy and environmental policy and regulation in Illinois.

Sadzi Martha Oliva Appointed to the ICC

On January 20, 2017, Governor Rauner's office announced the appointment of Sadzi Martha Oliva as a Commissioner of the ICC. 

The ICC is the public utilities commission in Illinois, regulating utilities and many other participants in the Illinois energy markets, as well as water, sewer, and telecommunications providers and some transportation-related matters. Together with the Illinois Power Agency, the ICC is the key agency on energy issues in Illinois. The ICC has broad adjudicatory and rulemaking authority under the Illinois Public Utilities Act and related laws.

Ms. Oliva has a history of service in Illinois state government. Most recently, she served as the General Counsel for the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. She previously held other positions with that agency, including Ethics Office Administrative Law Judge, and Chief of Medical Prosecutions. Ms. Oliva also previously worked at the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services as the Chief Administrative Law Judge, and as an Assistant Attorney General in the Office of the Illinois Attorney General. Ms. Oliva holds a JD from Loyola University School of Law and a BA from DePaul University.

In announcing her appointment, Governor Rauner's office highlighted Ms. Oliva's legal and ethics experience. In comments welcoming Ms. Oliva to the ICC at the ICC's January 25, 2017 meeting, ICC Commissioner Sherina Maye Edwards noted that Ms. Oliva is the first Latina to be appointed to the ICC.

ICC Commissioners serve five-year terms on a staggered appointment schedule. Commissioner appointments are subject to confirmation by the Illinois Senate. If confirmed, Ms. Oliva will join Chairman Brien Sheahan and Commissioner John Rosales as appointees made by Governor Rauner. Commissioners Edwards and Miguel del Valle were appointed by former Governor Pat Quinn. Interestingly, all five Commissioners are indicated on the ICC website as residing in Chicago, which is historically unusual for the ICC. 

Ms. Oliva replaces outgoing Commissioner Ann McCabe, who had served as an ICC Commissioner since March 2012. 

Katie Papadimitriu Appointed to the IPCB

On January 20, 2017, Governor Rauner's office also announced the appointment of Katie Papadimitriu as a Board Member of the IPCB. 

The ICPB is involved in a variety of environmental matters, including administrative enforcement actions for alleged violations of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act, appeals of permitting decisions of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, review of local government landfill siting decisions, and appeals of decisions of the Office of the State Fire Marshal relating to the Underground Storage Tank Fund. The ICPB also engages in some environmental rulemaking proceedings under the Environmental Protection Act and related laws.

Most recently, Ms. Papadimitriu served as Policy Advisor to IPCB Chairman Gerald Keenan, with a focus on energy and environmental market developments. Before her service at the IPCB, she acquired private sector experience as a Senior Consultant at Kavala Analytics and a Senior Policy Director at CLEAResult. She also previously worked in regulatory affairs for Constellation Energy. Ms. Papadimitriu holds a Masters degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology and a BA from the University of Chicago.

IPCB Board Members serve three year terms on a staggered appointment schedule.  Like the Commissioner appointments to the ICC, IPCB Board Member appointments are subject to confirmation by the Illinois Senate.  If confirmed, Ms. Papadimitriu will join Chairman Keenan and Board Member Cynthia Santos as appointees of Governor Rauner.  Board Members Carrie Zalewski and Jennifer Burke were appointed by former Governor Quinn.  

For more information about this alert please contact Chris Townsend 312.517.7555 | ctownsend@clarkhill.com or Chris Skey 312.517.7515 | cskey@clarkhill.com.