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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:03pm
Wed Aug 5

Petcoke Battle Continues On Chicago's Southeast Side

Progress Illinois recaps the latest news involving the petcoke issue on Chicago's Southeast Side.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
5:30pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Illinois Residents, Environmental Groups Sound The Alarm On Coal Ash Dangers

Illinois environmental groups and residents say the state's proposed draft rules for coal ash pits at power plant sites fall short when it comes to protecting the public from a "coal ash catastrophe." Progress Illinois details why environmentalists are calling for stronger coal ash regulations at the state level.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
5:47pm
Wed Apr 30, 2014

Chicago City Council Passes Plastic Bag Ban, Petcoke Regulations

The Chicago City Council voted Wednesday to partially ban plastic shopping bags and put in place tougher regulations for petcoke facilities. Progress Illinois takes a look at the two issues as well as other highlights from the council meeting.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
6:00pm
Tue Apr 29, 2014

Chicago Petcoke Ordinance Passes Key Hurdle

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s revised ordinance to regulate petcoke stored in Chicago cleared the city council's zoning committee Tuesday, despite an outpouring of objection from residents who want nothing short of a complete, citywide ban on the material. Progress Illinois was there for the hearing.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:04pm
Thu Apr 24, 2014

Chicago Plastic Bag Ban Clears Committee, Heads To Full City Council

A long-stalled proposal to crackdown on plastic carryout bags in Chicago unanimously passed out of the city council's environmental committee Thursday despite objections from industry groups that say the move will hurt businesses.

Approval of the Ban-The-Bag measure, spearheaded by Ald. Joe Moreno (1st), followed a comprise at City Hall this week to revise the ordinance so that restaurants and mom-and-pop stores can continue using plastic bags at the point of sale. Previously, the ordinance would have applied to retailers of all sizes.

Under the measure, Chicago restaurants and small, independent stores less than 10,000 square feet in size would be exempt. Small retailers, however, would have to comply with the plastic bag ban if they are part of a chain with at least three stores. 

"I'm very open to re-looking at this and adding even more players into it, but this is a huge step today for the city of Chicago," Moreno told reporters after the vote. 

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:25pm
Thu Apr 24, 2014

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.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:39pm
Tue Apr 1, 2014

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.

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