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Petcoke bill gains support in Illinois House

A bill to regulate the handling of petcoke, a petroleum refining byproduct, and coal picked up some support last week in the Illinois House.

On Wednesday, 10 state representatives signed on as co-sponsors to the bill introduced by state rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago). On Thursday, eight more did. A total of 29 are now backing the legislation, which, among other provisions, would require setbacks around coal and coke facilities, limit the amount of dust that can leave such sites, regulate loading and unloading, require monitoring with reports to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. The bill, based on language proposed by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office, has been assigned to the House Environment Committee.

The proposed legislation is a response to mounds of petcoke that are stored on transfer sites along the Calumet River on the Southeast Side. On Thursday, evening, residents of the area held their own informational meeting at a local church. Rather than increased regulation, many of those residents would prefer to see the businesses handling petcoke move out of their neighborhood.