Indiana

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 »

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
7:22pm
Wed Feb 19

New Report Sheds Light On America's Top Paid 'Government Workers'

Contrary to what some may believe, America's top paid government workers are not public employees, argues a new report from the progressive watchdog group Center for Media and Democracy (CMD).

"America's highest paid government workers are not your local teachers, social workers or corrections officers," said CMD's Executive Director Lisa Graves. "Rather, America's highest paid government workers are the corporate executives who profit from reckless privatization deals across the country."

In the “Exposed: America’s Highest Paid Government Workers” report, CMD identifies six CEOs who "worked hard to privatize public services and who use taxpayer dollars to enrich themselves with outlandish salaries and benefits."

After reviewing shareholder lawsuits, criminal investigations, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sanctions and court settlements, CMD found that the six CEOs highlighted in the report collectively raked in more than $100 million in compensation largely funded by taxpayers over the past several years.  Read more »

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