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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Tue Apr 1

Revised Chicago Petcoke Ordinance 'Opens The Door' For More Dirty Facilities, Environmentalists Say

Environmentalists and Southeast Side Chicagoans are furious over recent changes made to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposed ordinance to crack down on petcoke, claiming the revisions have weakened the legislation.

The mayor’s measure, initially introduced at March’s city council meeting, originally sought to ban new petcoke facilities from opening in the city and prohibit existing sites from expanding. But at the council’s zoning committee meeting Tuesday, the public learned the pending petcoke ordinance, co-sponsored by Alds. Ed Burke (14th) and John Pope (10th), has since been revised.

“That blindsided us,” Peggy Salazar of the Southeast Environmental Task Force told Progress Illinois after the nearly two-hour committee hearing. “How can they provide us with information, an ordinance to review and evaluate … then when we get here to testify and speak [on] the ordinance, they give us something totally different than what we did all that work on? How can they do that? How is that allowed?”

The council’s Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards agreed to defer consideration of the measure until its April 24 meeting to allow the public more time to review the substitute ordinance.

“I think there may be a few more items we can add,” Pope said before asking the committee to defer the vote. Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Fri Mar 7

Southeast Side Chicagoans Continue Push For Full Petcoke Ban

   Residents of Chicago's Southeast Side say Mayor Rahm Emanuel's proposal introduced this week to ban new or expanded petcoke facilities in the city does not go far enough.

At a packed community meeting Thursday night, residents of East Side, South Deering and other far Southeast Side neighborhoods said they want the petcoke piles stored near their homes to completely disappear.

"We want to be very clear that moving forward, our demands are that the petcoke piles are completely removed, not enclosed," Olga Bautista with the Southeast Side Coalition Against Petcoke said at the meeting, held at the Eastside Methodist Church.  Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Mon Jan 13

Quinn Announces Emergency Rules For Petcoke Management In Illinois

    Gov. Pat Quinn announced the state’s plans to push for emergency administrative rules for the management of petroleum coke, or petcoke, a thick, powdery byproduct of oil refining that can pollute the air and water.

“We want to make sure that every neighborhood in the state of Illinois is protected from the hazard of petroleum coke,” Quinn said at a press conference Monday afternoon.

The rules will be submitted to the Illinois Secretary of State before the end of the week, Quinn said. The rules are expected to take effect before the end of the month, after a review by the Illinois Pollution Control Board (IPCB), which has the option to host a 14-day public comment period on the issue.  Read more »

Quick Hit
by Aaron Cynic
Tue Nov 19, 2013

Public Pressure Over South Side Petcoke Piles Continues To Build

About a dozen demonstrators picketed outside the Union League Club this morning where Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) Director Lisa Bonnett was giving a talk to local business leaders on environmental sustainability. The protesters wanted to voice their concerns to Bonnett over petroleum coke, also known as petcoke, which is a thick powdery byproduct of petroleum refining stored on Chicago’s South Side.

Holding a small sign reading “Stop the petcoke pollution,”  Tom Shepherd, president of the Southeast Environmental Task Force told reporters that in the neighborhood, “You can’t be outdoors when the wind is blowing hard” because the petcoke dust is blowing through the air.

Read more »