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Report: IEPA stonewalls AG until HGOP leader steps in

Friday, Sep 21, 2018

* Michael Hawthorne at the Tribune

Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration is at odds with the state’s chief lawyer again, this time about the public health investigation of a suburban Chicago sterilization plant connected to the governor.

Urged by fellow Republicans to cooperate with Attorney General Lisa Madigan, a Democrat who isn’t running for re-election, the Rauner-led Illinois Environmental Protection Agency instead refused in late August to provide Madigan’s office with key documents about highly toxic ethylene oxide gas emitted in Willowbrook by Sterigenics, a global sterilization company bought in 2011 by a private equity fund co-founded by Rauner. The governor still has a financial interest in Sterigenics, according to a report he filed in May with a state ethics commission.

After Madigan’s office filed another request for Sterigenics records under the Freedom of Information Act, the EPA took more than two weeks to respond, then withheld detailed reports about pollution from Sterigenics during the past two decades, records show.

According to the Tribune, IEPA Director Alec Messina received phone calls yesterday from House Republican Leader Jim Durkin and Sen. John Curran, who both represent the area. Messina released the files by the end of the day.

…Adding… Sen. Kwame Raoul

I’ve met with Willowbrook residents and listened to them express fear for their families. As a cancer survivor myself, I take their concerns personally and find it unconscionable that any public official would ignore a documented carcinogenic threat, especially given the conflict of interest in this case. Bruce Rauner owes local residents answers and an apology.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

18 Comments
  1. - walker - Friday, Sep 21, 18 @ 10:30 am:

    Durkin +


  2. - wordslinger - Friday, Sep 21, 18 @ 10:35 am:

    –“This is a non-issue,” Messina said in an interview. “We work well together with the attorney general’s office. Ninety-nine percent of the time it’s wonderful.”–

    Then isn’t it truly an amazing coincidence that the 1% of the time you choose to stonewall it involves a company in which Rauner has a financial interest?

    This is the governor who babbles non-stop every day about corruption. He has a stake in this company, and his EPA stonewalls the AG until GOP lawmakers get tough in the best interests of their constituents.

    TII. What do you call that?


  3. - Jibba - Friday, Sep 21, 18 @ 10:59 am:

    I’ll play. Obstruction of justice?


  4. - Professor - Friday, Sep 21, 18 @ 11:06 am:

    I can remember when the EPA and the Attorney General used to work together, and worked with business for common goals.You could trust IEPA as being ‘nonpolitical.’ Not with this governor.


  5. - RNUG - Friday, Sep 21, 18 @ 11:11 am:

    Rauner has the Illinois’ Deep State protecting him /s?


  6. - A Jack - Friday, Sep 21, 18 @ 11:19 am:

    Is this the kind of corruption that Harold would prosecute if she were elected AG: the Governor controlled EPA looking the other way while the Governor’s factory poisons residents?


  7. - Anonymous - Friday, Sep 21, 18 @ 11:29 am:

    Is Jim Durkin the IEPA FOIA Officer? That’s some magic abilities there.


  8. - The fake Dick Mell - Friday, Sep 21, 18 @ 11:32 am:

    Along with others connected with the Rauner administration, isn’t Messina a recycled Blagojevich malefactor?


  9. - Anon221 - Friday, Sep 21, 18 @ 11:32 am:

    Governor Transparency strikes again.


  10. - Stumpy's bunker - Friday, Sep 21, 18 @ 11:40 am:

    Willowbrook-area residents, Illinois residents, please take careful note of how your governor’s appointees react to a situation directly affecting your family’s health when Rauner’s bottom line is involved.

    9 X the national cancer rate = a public health crisis.

    All relevant information should be voluntarily released; the information would be valuable to assess how to mitigate this profit-propelled poisoning of Illinois residents.

    Unbelievable that this even has to be pointed out.


  11. - Anonymous - Friday, Sep 21, 18 @ 12:16 pm:

    Didn’t the Illinois EPA recently get bad press over the VW settlement? Wasn’t that was being run out of the air department? Now we have reports from the air department being withheld. The buck stops with the director but maybe something is wrong at a level under him.


  12. - Precinct Captain - Friday, Sep 21, 18 @ 12:27 pm:

    More shocking corruption from the Bruce Rauner administration. What else is Rauner hiding?


  13. - Ok - Friday, Sep 21, 18 @ 12:42 pm:

    IEPA has now gotten bad press over:

    - the VW settlement by writing it behind closed doors with industry
    - coal plant regulations by working behind closed doors with Dynegy to come up with a way to allow the dirtiest coal plants to pollute more
    - cancerous air pollution by preventing the Attorney General from opening that door

    Maybe someone should be looking at all communication between the agency and the company. Probably more there.

    I guess “protection” isn’t in their name anymore?


  14. - MD - Friday, Sep 21, 18 @ 12:56 pm:

    Yes Messina was the chief legal counsel for EPA under Blago. Attorney General and Messina had huge arguments, stonewalling by Messina where AG demanded his firing. The relationship between Governor office and AG was horrible to begin with but this set over the edge. Funny how Messina tries to downplay and say 99% of time things great when EPA has almost stopped referring cases over there. Remember that when Messina left EPA he went to work for industry trade group.


  15. - JS Mill - Friday, Sep 21, 18 @ 2:06 pm:

    Funny, Rauner has yet to refer to himself as “Corrupt” yet because this definitely fits his description of corrupt.

    Corruption.


  16. - anonymous - Friday, Sep 21, 18 @ 2:07 pm:

    Legislators are playing a dangerous game if they try to make lemonade out of lemons with regard to the Sterigenics problem if they get caught playing politics or covering up critical information with this potential cancer health crisis or attempting to create the perception that they alone can solve the problem.


  17. - Mama - Friday, Sep 21, 18 @ 2:24 pm:

    “What do you call that? ”

    I call it waiting for Rauner’s AG to take over the office of the Attorney General.


  18. - Anonymous - Friday, Sep 21, 18 @ 2:26 pm:

    “Is this the kind of corruption that Harold would prosecute if she were elected AG”

    How can she when Rauner is providing the money for her election?


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