Gov. Pat Quinn on Monday announced “emergency rules” intended to stop petcoke dust pollution from spreading beyond the city to other parts of Illinois.
“It’s a neighborhood battle and it’s a statewide battle,” Quinn said, talking to reporters on the city’s Southeast Side — home to heaps of the black powdery substance. “We want to make sure every neighborhood in the state of Illinois is protected from the hazard of petroleum coke.”
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan recently announced an agreement with an Indiana company requiring it to remove huge piles of petroleum coke from the Southeast Side and, in the immediate future, accept no other shipments. Residents on the Southeast Side have been complaining for years that their neighborhoods have become a dumping ground for the ugly byproduct of the oil refinery process.
But Quinn said he wants rules in place to stop companies thwarted in the city from simply packing up and moving somewhere else in the state.
Quinn’s office plans to file the rules this week. There would be a two-week public comment period before the Illinois Pollution Control Board, which Quinn appointed, could enact the rules.
Among other things, a requirement that within 30 days of the rules going into effect, a petcoke-producing facility must install “dust suppression systems” along conveyor belts and alongside any dust piles that aren’t totally enclosed.