WBEZ | U.S. Environmental Protection Agency http://www.wbez.org/tags/us-environmental-protection-agency Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Settlement could lead to big park for Mexican neighborhood http://www.wbez.org/story/settlement-could-lead-big-park-mexican-neighborhood-90552 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-12/00_580x350_parks6.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The city of Chicago could be near the end of a five-year legal battle for control of a former industrial site with potential to help form a 24-acre park. If an eminent-domain settlement holds up, the land could be an asset for a Mexican-American area of the Southwest Side.<br> <br> Cook County Circuit Court Judge Sanjay T. Tailor this week signed off on the deal, under which the city will pay more than $7.5 million for about 19 acres owned by 2600 Sacramento Corp.<br> <br> “I don’t get a penny,” company owner Joanne Urso said Friday afternoon. The money will go to the Cook County Treasurer’s Office and remain there as Urso tries to settle with a bank that has filed suit to foreclose on the property, according to her attorney.<br> <br> Urso’s land could combine with an adjacent five acres the city already controls. The park would total about five blocks, all just west of South Sacramento Avenue and north of West 31st Street. The perimeter would pass residential buildings, industrial properties and the Cook County Jail.<br> <br> Activists in the Little Village neighborhood hailed the settlement. “We have not seen any park development in over 75 years,” said Kim Wasserman, executive director of the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization.<br> <br> Wasserman said the deal could inspire other neighborhoods to push for public amenities and services. “Regardless of language and regardless of immigration status, as long as there is determination in these communities, we can continue to get the things that we need,” she said.<br> <br> The park concept has the backing of the local alderman. “That’s what we’re pushing for,” said Juan Manzano, an aide to Ald. George Cárdenas, 12th Ward.<br> <br> The property served industrial manufacturers for more than 70 years, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Their output included asphalt, coal tar and driveway sealer. Celotex Corp. made roofing products on the site from 1967 to 1982, the EPA says.<br> <br> Allied Chemical and Dye Corp. purchased that operation. A series of mergers and acquisitions turned Allied into New Jersey-based Honeywell International Inc. The corporation dismantled the Celotex facilities between 1991 and 1993, according to the EPA. Urso’s company bought the property later.<br> <br> After cancer-linked chemicals turned up in nearby homes and yards, the EPA designated the area a Superfund site. A Honeywell cleanup consisted largely of covering the land with gravel. The cleanup finished last year, the agency says in a statement.<br> <br> Chicago filed the eminent-domain suit in 2006. The case became more complicated in August 2010, when Texas-based United Central Bank filed the foreclosure suit, a nearly $10 million claim, in federal court. The loan involves both the Celotex site and another Urso property.<br> <br> The city’s payment for Urso's land will consist of $6 million from the Chicago Park District and more than $1.5 million from city general-obligation bonds, according to Jennifer Hoyle, a spokeswoman for Mayor Rahm Emanuel.<br> <br> But the timeframe for creating the park is not clear. Ownership of Urso’s property will transfer to Chicago upon payment, due September 7, but the city is not specifying a date for turning over the acreage to the Park District. “Possibly later this year,” Hoyle wrote Friday afternoon.<br> <br> A possible obstacle is a Chicago Fire Department facility on the adjacent five acres.</p><p>The biggest challenge could be funding the park construction. Wasserman’s group is calling for playgrounds, a farm, sports fields, an amphitheater and a community center. Building all those amenities could cost hundreds of millions of dollars, the group says.</p></p> Fri, 12 Aug 2011 22:35:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/settlement-could-lead-big-park-mexican-neighborhood-90552 New fuel standards for trucks make waves at Illinois-based Navistar http://www.wbez.org/story/new-fuel-standards-trucks-make-waves-illinois-based-navistar-90326 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-09/navistar_ap_namyhuh.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The White House has announced <a href="http://www.nhtsa.gov/fuel-economy">new fuel standards</a> for trucks and buses.&nbsp;They'll require trucks built between 2014 and 2018 to drastically reduce fuel consumption.</p><p>The&nbsp;new standards mean big changes for companies like Illinois-based truck manufacturer Navistar International Corporation, said&nbsp;Basili Alukos, an equity analyst with Morningstar.</p><p>According to Alukos, trucks have mostly removed their dangerous emissions.&nbsp;Now, 18-wheelers at Navistar will get their turn at better gas mileage.</p><p>"They typically do about a 150,000 miles a year and they get roughly six miles a gallon," said Alukos. "So I mean, it's ridiculous. If your car got that it'd basically make you broke."</p><p>Certain big-rigs will be required to cut fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 20 percent by 2018. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transporation, this would save four gallons of fuel for every 100 miles traveled.</p><p>Navistar has <a href="http://www.navistar.com/Navistar/News/Newsroom">not yet announced</a> what changes they'll be making to their new trucks.&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 09 Aug 2011 19:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/new-fuel-standards-trucks-make-waves-illinois-based-navistar-90326 EPA: Lead levels too high in Pilsen air http://www.wbez.org/story/epa-lead-levels-too-high-pilsen-air-87913 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-15/Kramer.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday said the air in a swath of Chicago’s Southwest Side does not meet federal standards for lead. The finding is preliminary, but could lead to a crackdown on a copper smelter.</p><p>The finding supports an Illinois determination that the air in an area of the city’s Pilsen neighborhood exceeds 2008 federal limits for lead. The area’s borders are Damen Avenue, Roosevelt Road and the Dan Ryan and Stevenson expressways.</p><p>Cheryl Newton, who directs the air division of an EPA region that includes Illinois, says the process could lead to a state plan “to make sure those elevated levels come down.”</p><p>A cleanup could be a problem for a Pilsen smelter owned by H. Kramer and Co. In April a U.S. EPA legal complaint accused Kramer of violating lead-emissions rules. Illinois regulators, meanwhile, asked the state attorney general to take action.</p><p>A Kramer spokeswoman said the company had no comment on the U.S. EPA’s preliminary finding.</p><p>Pilsen and an area near St. Louis are the only Illinois locations whose air, according to the state, does not meet the standards for lead. Early childhood exposure to lead, a heavy metal, can trigger learning disabilities.</p></p> Thu, 16 Jun 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/epa-lead-levels-too-high-pilsen-air-87913