Explore our content

All types | All dates | All authors
Water Pollution


Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Mon Jan 13, 2014

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.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Fri Jan 10, 2014

A Look At the Proposal To Ban Plastic Foam Food Containers In Chicago (UPDATED)

   Chicago Alds. George Cardenas (12th) and Ed Burke (14th) want to ban the use of Styrofoam and other polystyrene food service products in the city. 

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Sun Dec 1, 2013

IDNR Hosts Public Hearing On Proposed Fracking Administrative Rules (VIDEO)

Proposed rules for hydraulic fracturing in Illinois fell under harsh scrutiny Tuesday night, as the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) hosted its first public hearing on draft regulations before the controversial horizontal oil and gas drilling technology comes to the state.

“I know that we need natural gas, but we need to do this in the safest way possible so that we’re not killing ourselves,” said Jessica Bryant, a representative of Greenpeace, in her speech before the panel of five IDNR representatives.

Bryant was one of more than 250 people to attend Tuesday’s meeting at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the first of five public hearings on the state's draft fracking administrative rules.

“There are about a million fracking wells nationwide. Industry itself has admitted that at least 5 percent of those wells have failed, in case you’re not good at math, that’s 50,000 wells ... What are the chances you live close to one of those wells,” asked Bryant, pointing out that the cement casing in the wells could leak, causing the water and chemicals used in fracking to leak and contaminate groundwater.

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.

Quick Hit
Mon Nov 18, 2013

Guest Article: Illinois' Draft Fracking Regulations: Haste Makes Waste

The following was written by Ann Alexander, senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources published a draft of its proposed fracking regulations in the Illinois RegisterSadly, looking through them brings the expression “haste makes waste” vividly to life. The speeding train that is fracking in Illinois, which we tried for years to put the brakes on with a moratorium, is now hurtling through the rulemaking process, with the Department (at the behest of industry, it appears) pulling out all the stops to get the rules in place as soon as humanly possible. The result is not, shall we say, a paragon of thoughtful drafting.

To DNR’s credit, within the amount of time it allotted itself to write these regulations after the fracking bill became law in June, it’s gotten a lot done. The draft is at least superficially comprehensive, more than 100 pages long and addressing in some fashion the array of technical matters covered by the legislation. And the Department adopted a number of the suggestions we sent them about provisions we think are critical to protect people – detailed permit application requirements, a reasonable process for public hearing requests, well-defined grounds for permit denial, and a few other things of that nature.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Fri Nov 15, 2013

Southeast Side Residents Get Heated Over Petcoke Pollution At Illinois EPA Meeting

A Chicago community meeting the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) hosted to discuss a proposed construction permit for KCBX Terminals Company quickly escalated into angry shouting from Southeast Side residents fed up with the firm storing large piles of petroleum coke, or petcoke, near their homes.

KCBX, which is controlled by the conservative billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, stockpiles the petcoke, a byproduct of oil refining, along the Calumet River on Chicago's far Southeast side. The thick, powdery petcoke is sent to KCBX from a BP refinery in Whiting, Indiana. East Side and South Deering residents have been sounding the alarm for some time now that petcoke dust is blowing into their neighborhoods and getting into their homes.

"No one asked us if we wanted to have these piles dumped in the first place. They just did it," Southeast Side resident Sue Garza told the IEPA officials at the packed two-hour meeting, held at the East Side United Methodist Church. "We have been the toxic dumping ground here for over 100 years. We don't want it anymore."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Tue Oct 29, 2013

Environmentalists Want EPA, Obama To Close "Frightening" Clean Water Act Loopholes

Activists with Environment Illinois say it's time to give Lake Michigan the Halloween treat it deserves: protection from polluters. 

At a news conference at North Avenue beach Tuesday morning, environmental organizers said loopholes in the Clean Water Act have allowed Lake Michigan to become a "witch's brew of pollutants" for more than a decade, leaving nearly 56 percent of Illinois' streams unprotected. The unchecked pollution has the potential to put the drinking water of more than 1.6 million Illinoisans at risk, the group said.

In September, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers submitted to the Office of Management and Budget a draft rule designed to help clarify which U.S. waters are subject to protections under the Clean Water Act. Environmentalists say the proposed rule would be a big step in helping to restore Clean Water Act protections for streams, wetlands and others waters.

The proposed rule takes into consideration a recent draft report the EPA issued detailing the findings of more than 1,000 peer-reviewed articles and studies about the connectivity of streams and wetlands to downstream waters.

At today's press conference, the environmental organizers called on President Barack Obama to move forward with the proposed rule, which they say would help ensure Lake Michigan is protected from pollution such as sewage and runoff from factory farms.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Mon Oct 21, 2013

Protesters Demand That No Fracking Permits Be Issued In Illinois (VIDEO)

Less than one month after the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) opened registration for individuals and firms interested in applying for hydraulic fracturing permits, a group of protesters gathered in Chicago on Friday to say they don’t want the oil and gas drilling technology in their state.

“We want Marc Miller and all of the people at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to be sure they hear our message,” said Jessica Fujan, an organizer with Food & Water Watch. “There is no such thing as safe fracking. For our water, for our air, for our farmers and for our future, we want to ban fracking now.”