WBEZ | Illinois Environmental Protection Agency http://www.wbez.org/tags/illinois-environmental-protection-agency Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en State, city move to crack down on petcoke in Chicago http://www.wbez.org/news/state-city-move-crack-down-petcoke-chicago-109412 <p><p dir="ltr">Top Chicago and Illinois officials are hoping new regulations and a legal deal announced on Thursday will crack down on the storage of petroleum coke on the city&rsquo;s Southeast Side.</p><p dir="ltr">Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan say they&rsquo;ve struck an interim legal settlement with Hammond, Ind.-based Beemsterboer, Inc., which has been storing so-called &ldquo;petcoke&rdquo; and other heavy industrial byproducts near residential neighborhoods.</p><p dir="ltr">Petcoke is a dust-like byproduct of the crude oil refinery process. It had been stored in mountainous, black piles along the Calumet River on the Southeast Side until residents began <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/southeast-side-residents-fuming-over-pet-coke-ash-109007">complaining</a> last August of health problems and demanding its removal.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;[They&rsquo;ve] been stored there without really any sufficient protections to prevent that dust from blowing into the nearby residential community, literally covering people&rsquo;s homes, covering their cars, covering their playgrounds - literally covering people when they go outside,&rdquo; Madigan said.</p><p dir="ltr">Additionally, Emanuel on Thursday announced new city regulations that would require large storage facilities to completely cover their piles of petcoke so they aren&rsquo;t windblown into adjacent neighborhoods. Smaller storage sites would simply have to block the piles from the wind.</p><p dir="ltr">Emanuel acknowledged Chicago and Illinois are behind the ball compared to places like Indiana and California, which imposed tougher petcoke regulations years ago.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We didn&rsquo;t do our job, and thank God for community leaders...who spoke up, demanded action, and we&rsquo;re now catching up to where we should have been years ago,&rdquo; Emanuel said.</p><p dir="ltr">But Thursday&rsquo;s actions do not mean the end of petcoke storage on the city&rsquo;s Southeast Side. Much of the material comes from BP&rsquo;s refinery plant in Whiting, Ind., which currently produces 2,000 tons of petcoke per day. A new expansion of the plant will triple that output.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Pet coke.jpg" style="float: right; height: 263px; width: 350px;" title="Southeast Side residents protest pet coke piles. (WBEZ/Michael Puente)" /></div><p dir="ltr">Beemsterboer, Inc. did not immediately return a phone call for comment. Another company that stores petcoke for BP, called KCBX Terminals, is not affected by Thursday&rsquo;s legal settlement but said it is reviewing Emanuel&rsquo;s proposed regulations.</p><p dir="ltr">BP contracts with KCBX Terminals, a firm located on Chicago&rsquo;s Southeast side and owned by the politically connected Koch brothers. The pet coke is trucked from Whiting to KCBX for temporary storage.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;KCBX has handled bulk materials, including petroleum coke, on Chicago&rsquo;s southeast side for more than 20 years,&rdquo; spokesman Jake Reint said in a statement on Thursday. &ldquo;We are committed to doing the right thing and managing our operations in a manner that protects the health and safety of our neighbors.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p><div>&nbsp;</div><p dir="ltr">Both companies are also facing suits from private attorneys representing residents who claim their health has been affected by the pet coke.</p><p dir="ltr">Democratic Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin visited the area this week with Democratic U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly. Some in Chicago&rsquo;s City Council have introduced bills calling for an all-out ban on pet coke in the city, but Emanuel rejected that idea on Thursday.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;The idea that you can ban it - I&rsquo;m not sure will do the protection that you need to do, and immediately would be thrown out in court and we would be no closer,&rdquo; Emanuel said.</p><p dir="ltr">Meanwhile, BP&rsquo;s Scott Dean says the company has no plans to stop contracting with KCBX. He says it&rsquo;s up to the company to safely store and contain the material. Dean says BP is encouraged to hear KCBX has installed a $10 million dust suppression system.</p><div><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/akeefe">Alex Keefe</a> is political reporter at WBEZ. You can follow him on <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZpolitics">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://plus.google.com/102759794640397640028">Google+</a>.&nbsp;Follow WBEZ Northwest Indiana bureau reporter Michael Puente on Twitter&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/MikePuenteNews">@MikePuenteNews</a>&nbsp;and on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/WBEZ-Northwest-Indiana-Bureau/701257506570573">Facebook</a>. &nbsp;</em></div></p> Thu, 19 Dec 2013 13:25:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/state-city-move-crack-down-petcoke-chicago-109412 Rockford gets $1 million award from Illinois EPA http://www.wbez.org/news/rockford-gets-1-million-award-illinois-epa-99041 <p><p>The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is giving $1 million to Rockford to help fund the removal of contaminated soil in the city's downtown.</p><p>City officials say the clean-up will help Rockford move forward with plans to expand a park and build a new Amtrak station downtown.</p><p>Officials say the state grant will be used at the site of a former rail depot and another structure that were demolished last year and the Tapco building, which is slated for demolition after sitting empty for nearly two decades.</p><p>The project will include digging up and hauling away 2,500 loads of dirt.</p><p>The grant is part of a state program designed to encourage communities to redevelop brownfield sites as part of efforts to improve their local economies.</p></p> Fri, 11 May 2012 08:53:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/rockford-gets-1-million-award-illinois-epa-99041 Most Illinois drinking water meets standards http://www.wbez.org/story/most-illinois-drinking-water-meets-standards-87884 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-15/7150122_2bf77eb8ef.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Most of the drinking water in Illinois met state and federal health requirements last year.&nbsp;</p><p>The <a href="http://www.epa.state.il.us/">Illinois Environmental Protection Agency </a>says data show 96.8 percent of people who got Illinois water supplies last year received drinking water that met&nbsp; all health requirements. That's 1.8 percent better than in 2009.&nbsp;</p><p>The state agency recently sent an annual compliance report to the <a href="http://www.epa.gov/">U.S. Environmental Protection Agency</a>. Community water supplies serve more than 12&nbsp; million people in Illinois.&nbsp;</p><p>Illinois EPA interim director Lisa Bonnett says the agency's goal is for publicly provided water to be "consistently safe to drink." She says the latest data show&nbsp; progress toward that goal.&nbsp;</p><p>---<br> Online:<br> Illinois EPA compliance and enforcement reports:<br> <a href="http://bit.ly/lbzDng">http://bit.ly/lbzDng</a><br> <br> (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.&nbsp; All Rights Reserved.)<br> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 15 Jun 2011 16:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/most-illinois-drinking-water-meets-standards-87884