PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
Tue Aug 26

Marriage Equality Supporters Rally On Eve Of Federal Appeals Court Hearing In Chicago (VIDEO)

Marriage equality supporters rallied Monday at Chicago's Federal Plaza on the eve of a key 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals hearing on gay marriage cases from Indiana and Wisconsin. Progress Illinois was there for the rally.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Tue Jun 24

Southeast Side Chicagoans Want Answers About Reported Uptick In Petcoke-Filled Trains

Southeast Side Chicagoans are sounding the alarm on the latest environmental and public safety issue impacting their communities — an alleged uptick in trains transporting uncovered piles of petcoke, a byproduct of oil refining.

Over the past two months, some Southeast Side residents say they have noticed increased train traffic on old rail lines in the Hegewisch community that have previously been unused for many years. The trains, many of which pull more than 100 cars, are moving in and out of the area day and night, said Tom Shepherd of the Southeast Environmental Task Force. 

Shepherd said the trains are carrying unenclosed petcoke, which is mostly coming from the BP refinery in Whiting, Indiana and stockpiled at storage facilities along the Calumet River on Chicago's far Southeast Side.  Read more »

Quick Hit
by Aaron Cynic
Mon May 19

Marktown Residents, Supporters Rally Against Keystone XL Pipeline (VIDEO)

Nearly 200 demonstrators gathered in Marktown Park, a neighborhood in East Chicago, Indiana, as part of a nationwide day of action that took place in more than 100 cities to protest the use of fossil fuels and to urge President Obama to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Demonstrators say they chose Marktown, which rests in the shadow of the BP Whiting refinery, because of the recent spill into Lake Michigan and an expansion project that will level the small community.

The demonstration was organized by, the Sierra Club, the Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands, the Northwest Indiana Federation of Interfaith Organizations and other groups who say the $3.8 billion expansion of the BP Whiting facility threatens the health of the community. Read more »

Quick Hit
by Anthony Burke Boylan
Wed May 14

Quigley Tours Chicago Petcoke Sites With Environmentalists, Affected Residents

A group of activists took U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL-5) through the environmental mire that is Chicago's South Deering community as well as adjacent neighborhoods. During Tuesday's tour, the environmentalists and area residents pointed out the towering, six-story piles of petcoke that are ruining their health and quality of life.

Locals have long referred to the area as Slag Valley — so named for the waste produced by the steel mills that defined the community for a century before leaving disappointment and economic blight. While the mills polluted the air and water, at least they provided jobs, residents say.

Now, they talk of the pollution that, they say, is as bad or worse than what was created by the steel mills, adding that the petcoke piles cause eye irritation, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and more. And, they noted, there is no economic benefit to the residents, who walked Quigley through the KCBX Terminals storage yard, even as they suffer from the presence of petcoke in their neighborhoods.

“The long-term solution is to move away from tar sands and dirty fuels,’’ said Quigley as he surveyed huge mounds of black petcoke at the Koch Brother-controlled KCBX storage yard. “The short-term solution is to get these piles of petcoke covered and lessen some of the immediate health concerns.’’ Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Mon May 12

National Nurses United, Southeast Siders Rally For Chicago Petcoke Moratorium At City Hall

Registered nurses and community activists rallied at Chicago's City Hall Monday afternoon, demanding that Mayor Rahm Emanuel and council members install an immediate moratorium on all petcoke operations in the city.

Chanting "Moratorium now!", dozens of Southeast Side residents, members of National Nurses United and other allies delivered a letter to the mayor's office, urging Chicago's elected officials to "cease all petcoke operations, transport and storage within the city until it is learned what impact petcoke has on the health of Chicagoans or until the piles are enclosed." Read more »

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