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Chicago’s Petcoke Problem: No Happy 4th for Southeast Siders

CHICAGO (July 3, 2014) – As Independence Day approaches, residents on the Southeast Side of Chicago continue to battle issues associated with the massive piles of petcoke heaped on the edge of the Calumet River, in close proximity to homes, parks and schools.

Following is a statement from Southeast Environmental Task Force Executive Director Peggy Salazar and NRDC Midwest Director Henry Henderson, who previously served as the founding Commissioner of the Environment for the City of Chicago:

“While Chicagoans prepare to grill for the 4th of July, they should remember folks on the Southeast Side who don’t feel safe having backyard barbecues in the shadow of massive mounds of petcoke in their neighborhoods. Air quality data and a Notice of Violation from the EPA against the biggest petcoke pilers underscore that there is cause for concern.”

NRDC and the Southeast Environmental Task Force staffers will be spending part of the holiday sorting through a raft of variance requests that have come in from companies in the area seeking exceptions to the City of Chicago’s regulations on handling and storage of petcoke and coal.


The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 1.4 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.


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