Local protesters told Midwest Energy News they decided to risk arrest in their battle to ban petcoke because they are frustrated with city officials’ approach to the problem.
A coalition of environmental and neighborhood groups say it is “unconscionable” that the Illinois EPA is not following through on an effort to regulate petcoke storage statewide.
A recent announcement that petcoke shipments to Chicago will end largely just consists of a company saying it will comply with city regulations instituted a year ago.
The battle over petcoke in Chicago continued Tuesday with the City Council’s zoning committee passing an ordinance that would set limits by the end of March on moving the substance through the city.
On Wednesday, Chicago’s public health commissioner sent KCBX a scathing letter, denouncing the company for releasing plans “via press release” for a proposed petcoke enclosure.
As a Koch subsidiary seeks delays for a proposed petcoke enclosure, neighborhood activists question whether the city is doing enough to crack down on pollution from the facility.
Even though they closed in 2012, Chicago’s controversial Fisk and Crawford coal plants are making an encore appearance in this year’s municipal elections, to be held Feb. 24.
Chicago residents are concerned that tougher regulations mean petcoke piles are moving from land to barges, but industry and port officials so far aren’t willing to discuss it.
Some residents say a company’s requests for variances to city rules has added more fuel to their push for a total ban on petcoke storage and transport in Chicago.