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Quick Hit
by Anthony Burke Boylan
11:19am
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 La Risa Lynch
4:57pm
Mon Apr 28

Far Southeast Side Residents Decry Compromise On Petcoke Ordinance (VIDEO)

Members of the Southeast Side Coalition to Ban PetCoke took to the streets Saturday to push back against changes to a proposed ordinance to regulate petcoke piles in the city. They say the ordinance doesn’t go far enough in protecting their community from the dust particles that are making area residents sick. Some 200 protesters converged on Ald. John Pope’s (10th) ward office and KCBX Terminals, which stores the petcoke piles on the banks of the Calumet River, over the weekend in a call for a complete ban on petcoke piles.

Petcoke is a by-product from oil refineries that contains high concentrations of carbon and sulfur. Residents say high winds often blow the fine petcoke particles throughout the community often coating homes in black soot.

“If it falls short of removing the piles, it is not a good fix for our neighborhood,” said Marianne Blye, of the ordinance sponsored by Pope and Alderman Ed Burke (14th) and backed by the mayor. Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:14pm
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."

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