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SUSTAINABLE CHICAGO Spring 2014
During a January 13th public hearing and the
subsequent 50-day public comment period for this
new legislation, many residents who neighbor the
petcoke storage facilities made their worries and
ideas heard publicly. “Trucks will still be allowed to
transport bulk materials which will lead to fugitive
petcoke entering the residential areas,” stated South
Chicago resident Carl Camacho. Others, such as
Bechara Coucair, Chicago’s Commissioner of Health,
worry not only that the piles of petcoke “are un-
sightly, but more importantly, they are endangering
the health and well-being of Chicago residents who
are forced to breath in the toxic particles when they
become airborne.”
Many residents are highly concerned about the
safety of their health and of the safety of the sur-
rounding water, and are pushing for these regulations
to pass quickly. Some are even pressuring officials to
increase the regulations to a stricter standard that
would decrease the amount of time for the two-year
grace period for the construction of an enclosure of
the bulk materials, and for an increase in the penalties
and fines for the companies that do not comply with
these new guidelines within the given time frame.
In the meantime, the Illinois Attorney General’s
office filed a second lawsuit on March 4th against
KCBX Terminals, which stores petcoke at their 100th
Street facility. They allege the Calumet River was
contaminated with runoff because of an insufficient
boundary between the petcoke piles and the river,
allowing for storm runoff into the river. This follows
the Attorney General’s first lawsuit that was filed in
November, which alleged air pollution violations at
another of the company’s facilities on the south side.
The biggest complaint against the new legisla-
tion is that it’s overreaching on restrictions of non-
related bulk materials. Salt used for inclement
weather treatments on the roads is a major point of
contention for this argument.
Morton Salt, Inc. commented that “the best
management practices identified in the proposed
regulation are inconsistent with the best manage-
ment practices for salt handling and storage.” They
are requesting that salt be a clearer exception to
these new proposed practices since salt is water sol-
uble and would not hold up under the new proposed
handling regulations that include spraying water or
sealant chemicals on the piles to reduce fugitive
dust.
Other arguments against the legislation are com-
ing from smaller businesses that rely on the export
and delivery of petcoke and similar materials to stay
in business. Many organizations that are connected
to the river terminals fear that they will not be able
to comply with the new regulations and will ulti-
mately lose current business and future opportuni-
ties.
This in turn might lead to the loss of jobs or the
departure of businesses from the area. Others claim
that the proposed restrictions are cost-prohibitive
and would negatively impact their businesses by
having to pass along the significant increases in
costs to their customers. And lastly, many busi-
nesses argue that the regulations are too vague and
ambiguous in their description of “bulk solid mate-
rials,” leaving it open to include many facilities that
are not related to petcoke.
Industries and businesses that
may be affected
Chicago residents and neighbors
near the storage facilities