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Nicor sues city over gas at park

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Nicor gas is seeking a federal court declaratory judgment that it's not to blame for natural gas found under Evanston's James Park.

The Evanston RoundTable reports that the company filed its suit in response to a notice the city issued last fall that it intended to sue the company contending it was responsible for the underground concentrations of the potentially explosive gas.

The city also revoked permits it had issued to let Nicor replace aging gas distribution lines around the park, claiming that work might lead to destruction of evidence that could show the Nicor pipes were the source of the gas. Those permits were reissued after Nicor filed its suit.

Various reports from city consultants have suggested that the gas — most found about 50 feet underground — could the the result of naturally occurring deposits or be caused by the use of the site for decades as a landfill.

The city has refused to disclose the results of the latest tests by its consultants. But it has installed monitoring systems at the Levy Senior Center and Dawes Elementary School on the edge of the park and city officials say no dangerous levels of gas have been detected there.

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