Illinois Congressional Members Call for Action on Brain Poison Polluting Chicago’s SE Side

CHICAGO – Illinois Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth and Representative Robin Kelly delivered a letter to the US EPA calling for aggressive action against the Watco facility on Chicago’s Southeast Side, a source of dangerously high levels of neurotoxic manganese. A coalition of advocates and residents recently called for immediate action in response to data from air monitors at the Watco facility.

Following is a joint statement from the Southeast Side Coalition to Ban Petcoke (SSCBP), the Southeast Environmental Task Force (SETF), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Northwestern Pritzker Law's Environmental Advocacy Clinic, and Chicago Legal Clinic, in reaction to the letter:

“Senators Durbin and Duckworth and Congresswoman Kelly are again listening to neighbors on the Southeast Side. We hope the EPA will listen to them and take action to use the full weight and force of the federal government to address the dangerous manganese operations.

“This action from the Illinois delegation is important; but we need the City to take action too. The Southeast Side continues to play whack-a-mole as one dirty industry replaces another. We need to put an end to this brain poison blowing over our communities, and then we need a comprehensive plan to address the cumulative burden of industrial pollution on Chicago’s Southeast Side.”


The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 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 and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.


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