Indiana

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:25pm
Thu Apr 24

Chicagoans Hit BP, Koch Brothers Companies With Class Action Lawsuit Over Petcoke

As the debate over petroleum coke stored on Chicago's Southeast Side rages on, a consolidated class action lawsuit was filed in federal court earlier this month against BP and various companies — including three connected to the conservative billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch — for failing to contain mounds of the gritty material.

The class action complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on April 7, is consolidated with two other lawsuits brought last year by Southeast Side Chicagoans against BP, which produces petroleum coke, or petcoke, in its oil refining process, as well as several companies that house the powdery substance in the city. 

The 10 Chicagoans named as plaintiffs in the consolidated lawsuit brought the complaint on behalf of themselves and a class estimated to be comprised of thousands of property owners located near the large petcoke piles on the city's Southeast Side. Read more »

Quick Hit
by Anthony Burke Boylan
8:49pm
Wed Apr 23

Chicago Environmentalists Take Fight To Doorstep Of 'Worst Corporate Polluters'

Grassroots groups from all over Chicago’s progressive landscape came together for a Climate Convergence on Earth Day, chanting for environmental and economic justice. The activists marched to corporations they say are the worst environmental offenders to deliver cease-and-desist orders, including Boeing Co., JPMorgan Chase Bank, and the British Petroleum oil company.

“If we do not have immediate change, we will face climate catastrophe by 2050,’’ said Jackie Spreadbury, an organizer with Global Climate Convergence Chicago. She called for people, planets and peace over profits as the rally began in front of the State of Illinois Center Tuesday, The event included speeches and protest songs like “This Land is Your Land’’ and original songs tailored to the event.

“The forces against us are strong, so fight not just these ten days, but every day,’’ she said, referring to the 10 days of action GCC has scheduled through May 1, or May Day. The May Day event is a march from the historically significant Haymarket Square to the ICE building on Congress Street to fight for immigration rights. Click through for more details and check back with Progress Illinois for coverage of Chicago's May Day events. Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:39pm
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
5:57pm
Thu Mar 27

Illinois Lawmakers Wage Fight Against Water-Polluting Agents In Cosmetic Products; BP Oil Spill Clean Up Continues (UPDATED)

An extremely small plastic pollutant poses a big threat to the health of the Great Lakes and the state's environment. And some Illinois lawmakers are looking to take action against the problem.

At issue are the super-tiny plastic beads used in hundreds of personal cosmetic products like facial wash, body scrubs and even toothpaste. According to scientists, tens of millions of these little plastic particles have made their way into the Great Lakes.

The cosmetic microbeads, which are less than 5 millimeters in size and commonly used to help with exfoliation, often get washed down household drains. Because the plastic beads are so small, they are not captured during the water treatment process, allowing them to get into waterways.

"There's no way to recover those materials once they're out in open waters," said Olga Lyandres, research manager at the Alliance for the Great Lakes. "Once they enter the environment, they stay there." Read more »

Quick Hit
by
3:32pm
Wed Mar 26

OP-ED: BP's Lake Michigan Oil Spill: More Mess And Less Transparency From The Refinery Chicagoans Love To Hate

The following is written by Henry Henderson, director of the Midwest Program for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Ask any Chicagoan and they’ll tell you that Lake Michigan is a big part of what makes this town great. So, perhaps this is what makes BP’s nearby refinery in Whiting, IN so reviled.

The week of the Exxon Valdez disaster anniversary and a week after the Council of Canadians released a report highlighting the threat that tar sands oil imposes on the Great Lakes, BP did what it always does: crapped up Lake Michigan.

Yesterday, an undetermined amount of oil made its way into the refinery’s water treatment unit and was dumped into the Lake, mucking a half mile of shoreline with waxy residue.

That’s the same water treatment unit that was venting the carcinogen benzene directly into the air… Which is just one of many controversies that have emanated from this gargantuan facility perched just a few miles down the Lakeshore from Chicago, in the midst of densely populated Northwest Indiana. Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:01pm
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 »

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