Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Koch Brothers-Owned Company Coats Chicago Homes With Petcoke Dust, Accused of Clean Air Act Violation

Energy

Chicagoans have long desired action against the owners of the piles of petcoke on the Southeast Side, and this week they finally got it.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that KCBX Terminals Co. violated the Clean Air Act earlier this year, based on dust-wipe samples taken from homes in the neighborhood adjacent to to the Koch Brothers-controlled facility. Wind has long blown dust from mounts of petroleum coke, coating the sides of homes. It's the exact reasons residents expressed anger at Mayor Rahm Emanuel and city council earlier this year when he proposed loophole-ridden regulations regarding petcoke storage.

Mounds of petroleum coke have been blowing in the direction of residents in Southeast Chicago. Photo credit: Alibaba.com

"We knew the dust was coming from their sites," Peggy Salazar, executive director of the Southeast Environmental Task Force, told the Chicago Tribune. "What they've been saying just isn't true."

A company spokesman told the publication that it would review the EPA notice. The company has increased shipments of petcoke from refineries that have shifted to tar sands oil which led to the samples taken five times between February and May.

However, the company previously argued that it had spent a combined $30 million on storage terminal upgrades, such as large sprinklers that adjustable based on wind speed and direction to pack down dust. Also, KCBX says it hired an environmental consultant to test soil samples on properties near the plant.

Five days before the EPA began its sampling, a company site manager told area residents in a letter that the consultant found "no unusual levels of dust particles associated with petcoke or coal" nearby. However, the residents themselves have the evidence on their homes and have been breathing it in.

"The piles are still here," Salazar said. "We feel like all of our complaints are for naught."

——–

YOU ALSO MIGHT LIKE

Chicago’s Proposed Petcoke Regulations Full of Loopholes

A Look at the Sustainable Chicago Restaurant That Recycled and Composted Everything for 2 Years

——–

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The Anderson Community Group. Left to right, Caroline Laur, Anita Foust, the Rev. Bryon Shoffner, and Bill Compton, came together to fight for environmental justice in their community. Anderson Community Group

By Isabella Garcia

On Thanksgiving Day 2019, right after Caroline Laur had finished giving thanks for her home, a neighbor at church told her that a company had submitted permit requests to build an asphalt plant in their community. The plans indicated the plant would be 250 feet from Laur's backdoor.

Read More Show Less
Berber woman cooks traditional flatbread using an earthen oven in her mud-walled village home located near the historic village of Ait Benhaddou in Morocco, Africa on Jan. 4, 2016. Creative Touch Imaging Ltd. /NurPhoto / Getty Images

By Danielle Nierenberg and Jason Flatt

The world's Indigenous Peoples face severe and disproportionate rates of food insecurity. While Indigenous Peoples comprise 5 percent of the world's population, they account for 15 percent of the world's poor, according to the World Health Organization.

Read More Show Less
Danny Choo / CC BY-SA 2.0

By Olivia Sullivan

One of the many unfortunate outcomes of the coronavirus pandemic has been the quick and obvious increase in single-use plastic products. After COVID-19 arrived in the United States, many grocery stores prohibited customers from using reusable bags, coffee shops banned reusable mugs, and takeout food with plastic forks and knives became the new normal.

Read More Show Less
A mostly empty 110 freeway toward downtown Los Angeles, California on April 28, 2020. Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The shelter in place orders that brought clean skies to some of the world's most polluted cities and saw greenhouse gas emissions plummet were just a temporary relief that provided an illusory benefit to the long-term consequences of the climate crisis. According to new research, the COVID-19 lockdowns will have a "neglible" impact on global warming, as Newshub in New Zealand reported.

Read More Show Less
Centrosaurus apertus was a plant-eating, single-horned dinosaur that lived 76 to 77 million years ago. Sergey Krasovskiy / Stocktrek Images / Getty Images

Scientists have discovered and diagnosed the first instance of malignant cancer in a dinosaur, and they did so by using modern medical techniques. They published their results earlier this week in The Lancet Oncology.

Read More Show Less
Parks keep people happy in times of global crisis, economic shutdown and public anger. NPS

By Joe Roman and Taylor Ricketts

The COVID-19 pandemic in the United States is the deepest and longest period of malaise in a dozen years. Our colleagues at the University of Vermont have concluded this by analyzing posts on Twitter. The Vermont Complex Systems Center studies 50 million tweets a day, scoring the "happiness" of people's words to monitor the national mood. That mood today is at its lowest point since 2008 when they started this project.

Read More Show Less

Trending

The ubiquity of guns and bullets poses environmental risks. Contaminants in bullets include lead, copper, zinc, antimony and mercury. gorancakmazovic / iStock / Getty Images Plus

New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced Thursday that she will attempt to dismantle the National Rifle Association (NRA), arguing that years of corruption and mismanagement warrant the dissolution of the activist organization, as CNN reported.

Read More Show Less