Mayor Emanuel Rules Out Ban On Petcoke

January 28, 2014- Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in December ruled out a ban on a byproduct of the oil refinery process called petcoke that threatens Chicago’s Southeast side. Emanuel said that he favors regulations to control petcoke, but community leaders are concerned that the rules don’t go far enough to contain the byproduct.

Peggy Salazar, director of the Southeast Environmental Task Force, questioned why Emanuel is giving petcoke storage companies as long as two years to enclose their bulk material storage facilities. Smaller storage facilities and deliveries would be required to install wind barriers, under the draft regulations.

“We don’t think it’s enough….Why would you allow something that is negative to the health of the community to be in existence for two years?” Salazar asked. “That stuff arrives in rail cars [and] barges that are uncovered… And the wind still blows. Enclosures [are] not the total answer.”

Emanuel declared his opposition to the Chicago ban on petcoke proposed by Ald. Edward Burke (14th) after joining Salazar and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan on the Southeast Side to announce the new regulations and a companion agreed court order with the owner of one of three petcoke storage sites.

“A lot of people for years wanted to just ban the coal plants. It couldn’t be done. The companies would have looked at throwing it out. You would have spent a lot of money in the court. And it would not have succeeded,” the mayor said.

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