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PCB rejects Quinn’s petcoke emergency rules

Thursday, Jan 23, 2014

* AP

An Illinois pollution panel has denied emergency regulations to control piles of petroleum coke.

The Pollution Control Board made the decision on Thursday regarding statewide regulations proposed by Gov. Pat Quinn. The board’s decision means the rules will go through the longer, regular rule-making process. […]

Quinn wants to require storage terminals to immediately install dust-suppression systems and prevent storm water runoff. He also wants companies to fully enclose the piles within two years.

Industry officials say the rules would hurt Illinois businesses, and there’s no need for emergency action.

* Opposition to the rules was intense and broad

Illinois business leaders say Quinn’s regulations would be unreasonably expensive and don’t need to be rushed into place. They point to last year’s deal on fracking, in which people on both sides of the issue took the time to sit down and hammer out a compromise.

The petcoke rules, for example, could affect other industries, such as trucking, rail, barges, refineries and power generation in unexpected ways, they said.

“We believe the IEPA can’t know how this will affect business,” said Tom Wolf, executive director of the Illinois Chamber Energy Council. “Without an emergency, why are we going through a process that lasts seven days? There’s no science behind it. Petcoke and coal can be stored safely. If groups and individuals want to bring forward ideas on how it can be done better, that is what legislation and rule-making are for. That’s what democracy is about. It’s not about seven days.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Almost the Weekend - Thursday, Jan 23, 14 @ 2:49 pm:

    Can’t wait to see the environmentalists ridicule this Illinois Pollution Panel. A bunch of rich North Shore liberals whose wealth has primarily come from businesses or practices that use oil and gas to operate. The hypocrisy is just to much. I wonder how their gigantic homes are being heated during this freezing weather

  2. - Upon Further Review - Thursday, Jan 23, 14 @ 2:49 pm:

    I am really tempted to call some of this petcoke business the latest example of government alarmism being used to create new regulations and restrictions to advance an agenda and engage in a power grab. I am not a fan of pollution and I want everyone to enjoy sanitary and healthy living conditions, but I question how we could have been using these fossil fuels for centuries and petcoke only became a buzzword in the past few months.

  3. - dupage dan - Thursday, Jan 23, 14 @ 3:12 pm:

    === I am not a fan of pollution ===

    I am ;/)

  4. - walker - Thursday, Jan 23, 14 @ 3:19 pm:

    ===I’m really tempted to call this petcoke business the latest example of ….===

    Thankfully you resisted that temptation.

    (Upon further review, only kidding , with respect)

  5. - Keyser Soze - Thursday, Jan 23, 14 @ 3:20 pm:

    The proposed rules are amateurish at best, but even so, this is a surprise.

  6. - 4 percent - Thursday, Jan 23, 14 @ 3:21 pm:

    Governor Quinn and the EPA deserved this public flogging. They took an isolated one time incident and tried to make it an “emergency” even though they waited a full six months to deal with this imminent threat to health. I would note that neither the EPA or AG can point to any other single incident that occurred or violation despite sending inspectors to sites across IL in December. Then, they had the audacity to include coal in the equation because that is what the environmental NGOs wanted. Finally, they tried to rush the process in less than 7 days without even talking to industry (EPA officials actually said that the Governor’s Office prohibited them from releasing rules or getting input). Good for the IPCB.

  7. - Just Saying - Thursday, Jan 23, 14 @ 3:40 pm:

    ===Governor Quinn and the EPA deserved this public flogging.===

    I couldn’t agree more. Gee…could getting at the politically active Republican OWNERS of the main facilities affected by this ridiculous attempt by the governor been motivation for it? Nah; not in Illinois!

  8. - Ghost - Thursday, Jan 23, 14 @ 3:57 pm:

    First rule is to rename petcoke to petpepsi and leave my belvoed beverage alone….

  9. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Jan 23, 14 @ 4:10 pm:

    ==I question how we could have been using these fossil fuels for centuries and petcoke only became a buzzword in the past few months==

    I suppose you might ask the same questions about the methylcyclohexene methanol used in West Virginia.

    Just because something has been used for a while without apparent incident doesn’t mean it is safe. I do not necessarily agree that new rules need to be passed in seven days, but new rules might very well be in order.

  10. - Konda Chilly - Thursday, Jan 23, 14 @ 4:14 pm:

    This whole thing was given code red status because the Left is hysterical about anything associated with the Koch Brothers. The Trib’s environmental reporter prints whatever the hard left environmental groups give him and away we go.

  11. - Commonsense in Illinois - Thursday, Jan 23, 14 @ 4:16 pm:

    Just another red-letter day for the Quinns…

  12. - Senator Clay Davis - Thursday, Jan 23, 14 @ 4:20 pm:

    Petcoke became a problem recently because the piles recently started blowing into residential neighborhoods. Call me a bleeding heart, but it makes sense politicians would try to stop toxic chemicals from blowing into voters’ homes.

    The political angle here is the piles are owned by the Koch Brothers, the current national left-wing boogeyman. Politicians (and enviros) can raise their national profile (and donations) by railing against “Petkoch.”

    Still, the issue should be addressed. But I agree with Tom Wolf, we shouldn’t be making complex statewide policy decisions in seven days. There are ways to stem the site-specific problems without creating statewide headaches for non-offending petcoke piles.

  13. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jan 23, 14 @ 4:25 pm:

    SCD, that was the comment of the day, if not the week.

  14. - mokenavince - Thursday, Jan 23, 14 @ 4:31 pm:

    Let our IEPA determine how it can be corrected. Their wetting it now, so set up rules to cover it like other States do.

    Enough of our ready fire aim tactics.

  15. - dang - Thursday, Jan 23, 14 @ 4:41 pm:

    Shouldn’t the PCB, I don’t know, regulate pollution? This plus the Ameren/Dynegy variance makes me think some of the hacks need to go!

  16. - dupage dan - Thursday, Jan 23, 14 @ 4:47 pm:

    dang - they do. Thankfully, they do it carefully and deliberately. Otherwise, they might end up banning dirt.

  17. - dupage dan - Thursday, Jan 23, 14 @ 4:50 pm:

    The issue re petcoke allows for some more careful consideration. The degree to which it can be called toxic is not the same that we would label dioxin, for example. Even still, it is something that should be addressed if not just for quality of life for folks living nearby.

  18. - Keyser Soze - Thursday, Jan 23, 14 @ 4:54 pm:

    “……end up banning dirt.” Per IPCB regulations most or all of Chicago’s dirt is “contaminated” and may not be taken to unpermitted facilities. The main villian is lead.

  19. - Going nuclear - Thursday, Jan 23, 14 @ 5:06 pm:

    I feel bad for the local residents who have to put up with the growing piles of petcoke. These folks have stuck it out on Chicago’s southeast side, which for decades served as a dumping ground for all sorts of industrial waste. Now they are faced with their community being turned into a massive petcoke storage area. This will not help with their community and business development efforts.

  20. - Senator Clay Davis - Thursday, Jan 23, 14 @ 5:12 pm:

    ==SCD, that was the comment of the day, if not the week.==

    Thanks Rich!

  21. - kimaye - Thursday, Jan 23, 14 @ 6:10 pm:

    tom wolf “democracy is about any rule that comes out of pcb being changed by JCAR if we don’t like it.”

  22. - 4 percent - Thursday, Jan 23, 14 @ 6:12 pm:

    Keep in mind that petcoke is non-toxic and non-hazardous according to the USEPA.

    And for those that want to blame the Koch brothers, I’d point out that they just bough the facility from the previous operator within the last year and they are the ones that installed the proper devices and eliminated the problem. So perhaps the environmentalists might want to send them a THANK YOU card.

  23. - Michael Westen - Thursday, Jan 23, 14 @ 7:27 pm:

    I wonder if Governor Quinn will try to have the PCB’s pay checks withheld until they do what he wants them to do.

  24. - Oh, Come On - Thursday, Jan 23, 14 @ 9:09 pm:

    The South Side has always been a dumping ground for more than a century and a half, slaughterhouses, stockyards, fertilizer factories, sewage treatment plants, steel mills, paint manufacturing plants, etc. Hell, the White Sox were permitted to enter the Chicago market by the older baseball team on the condition that the AL entry play on the South Side.

  25. - Skirmisher - Thursday, Jan 23, 14 @ 9:14 pm:

    There was many a time when I thought the IPCB was pretty much a political lapdog. It was personally very refreshing to see that this Board can in fact still act professionally and independently, and stand up against flagrant political grandstanding. Good job!

  26. - Anon. - Thursday, Jan 23, 14 @ 9:36 pm:

    An up day for the Governor.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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