The Illinois Uniform Environmental Covenants Act (UECA) (765 Illinois Compiled Statues (ILCS) 122 et seq.) creates an environmental covenant that is a specific recordable interest in real estate. It arises from an environmental response project that imposes activity and use limitations on a property. No environmental covenant is effective without the approval of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Illinois EPA), through the Director’s signature. The UECA instrument recites the property use controls and remediation requirements imposed upon the property. The rights under the covenant must be granted to a party or parties called the holders. The covenant is perpetual unless limited in time within the UECA instrument or unless amended or terminated by consent of the Illinois EPA, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), (if they are a holder) and current fee simple owner of the property. It runs with the land and does not have to be “appurtenant”. This means it cannot be extinguished when one owner transfers rights or interests in the property to another, no matter who the holders are.
The applicability of the UECA and establishment thereof is specific to remediation projects conducted pursuant to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976, as amended (RCRA, 42 United States Code (USC) 6901 et seq.), the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980, as amended (CERCLA, 42 USC 9601 et seq.), or an order issued by a court of competent jurisdiction or the Illinois Pollution Control Board issued pursuant to the Illinois Environmental Protection Act (Act, 415 ILCS 5/1 et seq.). It is not applicable to projects addressed pursuant to the Illinois EPA Site Remediation Program (SRP) or Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) Program that are subject to the issuance of No Further Remediation (NFR) letters or the establishment of Environmental Land Use Controls (ELUCs). The purpose of the Illinois UECA is to ensure that land use restrictions, mandated environmental monitoring requirements, and a wide range of common engineering controls designed to control the potential environmental risk of residual contamination will be recorded in the land records and effectively enforced over time as a valid, real property servitude.
Section 12(a) of the Illinois UECA requires the Illinois EPA to establish and maintain a registry that contains all environmental covenants and any amendment or termination of those covenants.