Could the city strike it rich on crude oil?

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Scoopsville: Sneed is told Aldermen Ed Burke and Matthew O’Shea plan to ramp up their effort to regulate the transportation of potentially hazardous material by rail through Chicago — by proposing a fee on the containers to City Council on Monday. 

“A similar container fee proposal in California by the Long Beach Port Authority was estimated to bring in $1.4 billion annually,” said Burke, who is also hoping to ban unsafe rail cars shipping hazardous material and/or crude oil through Chicago.

“We don’t want the devastation caused by the derailment tragedies in Quebec last year and North Dakota, which has become a major fracking/crude oil hub, to happen here,” said Burke, who wants the city to petition the feds to toughen rail tank car standards. 

“We fear the increasing rail shipments of crude oil flowing through the city are being shipped in below-standard cars,” said Burke.

“The funds collected from the container fees could be earmarked for emergency funds for police and fire, the first responders to any disastrous or Hazmat incidents,” said Burke. 

“Recent derailment stories have gotten national attention, and Chicago could be the first city in the nation to prompt federal action,” he said.

Chicago’s rail hub is the largest in the U.S. and the third largest container/trailer port in the world, according to the Illinois Commerce Commission report from a few years ago. About 20 million tons of chemicals, many of which are hazardous, are transported on the state’s rail systems each year.

Stay tuned. 

Rosie the riveter . . .

The state has a new first dog.

Her name is Rosie, and she just had her coming-out office party.

◆ Translation: Gov. Pat Quinn, who has been minus a pet pooch since his terrier, Bailey, died in 2011 — has adopted another terrier mix he’s christened Rosie.

“I named her Rosie because I like two syllables,” he said. “It seems to get their attention. 

“Of course, she likes to bark, and I’m hoping that will get [Illinois House Speaker] Mike Madigan’s attention,” chuckled Quinn, who introduced Sneed to Rosie at his Chicago office Friday.

Armed with kibbles and sitting next to a bag of a paw-friendly ice melt, Quinn waxed poetic about his new terrier mix and how he rescued her.

“Rosie was homeless, and I found her at the PAWS shelter last August when we signed a new law to help ensure all dogs in Illinois are treated humanely,” he said. “She was pretty skinny and needed lots of love, so I adopted her last September,” said Quinn, whose cheeks were being slathered shiny during the interview. 

“I joke Rosie is a distant cousin of Bailey, who was very fond of table scraps and was always found loitering in the kitchen at the [Governor’s] Mansion in Springfield,” he said. 

“Rosie will not be eating table scraps, but she has yet to visit the mansion either.”

Quinn admitted the dog is basically being raised by friends and family, who take turns on a Rosie patrol.

“It takes a village to raise Rosie,” he said. 

“I missed having a dog, but I also wanted to raise awareness about the importance of animal rescue and the adoption of dogs and cats who need loving homes. 

“Watch for us to propose an animal welfare bill soon and a full-fledged campaign to raise awareness for pet adoption,” he said. “And I can’t praise state Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka enough for what she does in this area.”

There’s no shortage of pets to be adopted: In 2012, more than 22,000 cats and dogs housed in shelters in Illinois were euthanized, according to data collected by animal advocates.

As Rosie scampered onto the next lap, Quinn said, “You know, they bring a bit of magic into your life.”

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