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Rauner deflects blame to AG and Speaker Madigan

Monday, Oct 29, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Friday

Willowbrook residents described sick children gasping for air and a disconnected government at a hearing Friday concerning the Sterigenics company, which officials are investigating over emissions of a cancer-causing gas.

The issue has roiled the Nov. 6 election campaign, with Gov. Bruce Rauner and state agencies taking heat for not informing people promptly about risks from exposure to ethylene oxide, a chemical used to sterilize medical equipment.

Gabriela Rios, a mother of two, lives a few blocks from the plant in southeast DuPage County. She told state lawmakers Friday at a hearing held by two House committees how her oldest daughter fell ill with mysterious coughing fits and vomiting. Later, her younger daughter had to be rushed to the hospital when “she was struggling to breathe and turned purple,” Rios said.

Rios, an attorney, said she herself has suffered heart palpitations, trouble breathing and a ringing in her ears that “makes me feel like I’m going insane.

* Friday

Among those residents was Gabriela Tejeda Rios and her daughters. Rios said her family are the closest residents to the facility.

“We feel trapped. It’s easy to say ‘why don’t you just move?’ But we can’t,” Tejeda said. “It’s not an option for us. My children are being poisoned 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And I cannot protect them from it.”

After hearing from several speakers, some lawmakers called for action.

“At the very least, we need to temporarily shut this down,” said Representative Grant Wehrli of the 41st District.

* Today

Gov. Bruce Rauner on Monday accused Attorney General Lisa Madigan of doing her father’s bidding by painting him as the villain in the continuing controversy over the Sterigenics plant in Willowbrook. […]

The United States EPA told the company last December, that its emissions of EtO had been calculated at 1,000 parts per million, far exceeding the upper limit of cancer risk acceptability. The Illinois EPA was copied on that letter, but Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office, which shares responsibility for environmental enforcement, said they had not been given adequate information on the Sterigenics issue.

Indeed, spokesman Eileen Boyce told the Daily Herald on Friday that the Rauner administration “hid information on the increased risks from the Sterigenics plant for over eight months. We then had to fight with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to get access to needed information.” […]

“This is being politicized for the gain of the Madigan clan,” Rauner told NBC5. “It’s also been falsely said that somehow the governor wants to protect the company because the governor has an economic interest. I have no economic interest whatsoever in that business.” […]

“That’s one of the things I’ve learned the hard way—she absolutely is,” he said. “We have one of the most corrupt states in America, led by her father. She has never led an investigation of corruption, conflict of interest, or unethical behavior of her dad or any of his administration. How is this right? She’s there protecting her father, not protecting the taxpayers.”

* Related…

* Trump and Rauner administrations knew about Sterigenics cancer risks months before telling public


  1. - Former Downstater - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 2:58 pm:

    Take some responsibility for something, anything, Bruce, that happened under your watch.

    He can’t be gone soon enough.

  2. - Anonymous - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 2:59 pm:

    What else are they going to say?

    And what’s the audience going to believe?

    Maybe if they keep repeating “because Madigan!” people will start to believe it.

    Or not.

  3. - Amalia - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 3:03 pm:

    so, Bruce, you really are trying to convince us to create a Baby Rauner balloon, right?

  4. - Yiddishcowboy - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 3:04 pm:

    You are really a pitiful man, Bruce Rauner, not to mention an irritating broken record. I feel sorry for you, sir, I really do. (Sigh)

  5. - Roadrager - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 3:05 pm:

    My only hope is that this ends up hitting our soon-to-be-former governor in his pocketbook, because that’s the only way we’ll ever see real tears out of him, as opposed to the crocodile tears he speaks so fondly of when there’s a microphone nearby.

  6. - Moe Berg - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 3:06 pm:

    He asserts he has no financial interest in the company. His most recent economic interest statement lists a GTCR investment entity that owns the company. He’s provided no documentation that he’s actually divested. Just asserts it.

    And, given that he’s a shameless liar, I’m a wee bit skeptical he no longer has a financial interest in Sterigneics.

    If I were a high level Illinois EPA or governor’s office employee, I’d be concerned about legal exposure should the AG follow up her Adams County grand jury with a DuPage County grand jury.

  7. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 3:07 pm:

    At this point…

    Rauner running against Madigan has him down 16-22 points.

    It’s just noise. Rauner has failed to make a case, even against the “Madigan clan”

    Those living close by are blaming Rauner.

    That’s the only reason Rauner is paying attention at this point.

  8. - Anon0091 - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 3:07 pm:

    Oh Bruce, just don’t. I know you’ve lost. You know you’ve lost. Are you really trying to go out in a blaze of shame? Oh wait, I saw your outfit Saturday. Yea, I guess you are.

  9. - Henry Francis - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 3:08 pm:

    It is astounding that a sitting Governor who has not made one mistake during his 4 year term - not one (exclamation point) - is trailing so badly in this election.

    We really are a broken state.

  10. - 47th Ward - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 3:08 pm:

    Blame Madigans.

  11. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 3:12 pm:

    I thought Rauner has an economic interest in/profits from Sterigenics, through Fund IX.

  12. - Anon E Moose - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 3:12 pm:

    What would you say … you do here?

  13. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 3:15 pm:

    Dear Gov. Rauner,

    I don’t think your case is compelling to the Thome family and those close to the facility.

    That’s not your audience, or voters.

    They are the victims.

    Oswego Willy

  14. - Nick Name - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 3:26 pm:

    ===We have one of the most corrupt states in America, led by her father.===

    “I’m not in charge.”

  15. - Credit - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 3:30 pm:

    The IEPA has the ability to shut the plant down right now. Today. They know that. Director Alec Messina knows this. Rauner knows this.

  16. - A Young Person - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 3:47 pm:

    Alternative headline: fish swims in water.

  17. - Anonymous - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 3:47 pm:

    When he broadcast that staff meeting early in his term and told the audience that he would take all the arrows I posted here something along the lines of; “whenever someone goes out of their way to publicly announce they will take the arrows, people better be prepared to be thrown under the bus.”

  18. - Pundent - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 3:48 pm:

    So people are contracting cancer from a facility that Bruce Rauner has an interest in and his response is to call out Lisa Madigan for failing to investigate her father for unknown issues that she’s not even empowered as AG to prosecute?

  19. - DuPage Saint - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 3:50 pm:

    The fact that this place has not been shut down immediately is a crime
    Every local politician state rep and county board member and Cronin should have to move their office right next door

  20. - Demoralized - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 4:02 pm:

    Just add another thing to the pile of “it’s not my fault.”

    Poor Governor is once again just the victim.

  21. - Jibba - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 4:04 pm:

    Henry Francis…you forgot the snark symbol. Not everyone will get your sense of humor.

  22. - zatoichi - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 4:05 pm:

    If USEPA gave the info to ILEPA and the ILEPA held it for 8 months how is it the AG’s fault when the ILEPA would not release it? Can the local residents sue the state and Admin for lack of action when the cause of the problem is well known? It’s just dejavu over and over. Elections cannot come soon enough.

  23. - DuPage Bard - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 4:08 pm:

    Not seure how Bruce hasn’t told Sterigenics to shut down until after Nov 6? Literally this would be an easy move and get down tickets folks some press for asking you to shut it down.
    Keeping it open is nothing but an ongoing question for the next 8 days.
    Why hasn’t your team told you to get rid of this thing hanging out there?

  24. - Lefty Lefty - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 4:22 pm:

    I don’t have a lot of experience with the Bureau of Air at the Illinois EPA, but I have worked with the Bureau of Land and the Bureau of Water for years. Short of staff, experience, and training as far as I can tell. More so every year.

    So if the ATSDR told Illinois EPA/Bureau of Air of its ambient air quality results, then the BoA could have referred the conditions to the AG’s office. There’s either some correspondence or there’s not. Someone is being less than forthright about the whole thing.

  25. - @misterjayem - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 4:26 pm:

    This is the way the campaign ends
    This is the way the campaign ends
    This is the way the campaign ends
    Not with a bang but a… Madigan‼

    – MrJM

  26. - Huh? - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 5:00 pm:

    I have trouble wrapping my head around how pollution caused by a company owned by 1.4% is the fault of the AG and Speaker.

    What is the political advantage that the AG and Speaker gain from this issue? The AG’s term of office ends in January. I’m not sure that the Speaker’s district covers Willowbrook.

  27. - Chicago 20 - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 5:00 pm:

    So that’s why all of Rauner’s children moved out of state.

  28. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 5:11 pm:

    Chi 20, that’s probably not the only reason…

  29. - Pot calling kettle - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 5:12 pm:

    Last time I checked, the IEPA was under the governor. Was it moved to the AG’s office or the Illinois House? How does that even make sense?

  30. - JoanP - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 5:15 pm:

    Two-year-olds would be embarrassed to throw the tantrums Rauner’s throwing.

  31. - A Jack - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 5:21 pm:

    The Governor could offer some words of sympathy for these families instead of trying to blame others. I have had family members who contracted rare forms of cancer due to industrial waste. Their lives were cut short because profits were more important than community safety.

  32. - Last Bull Moose - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 6:04 pm:

    The story is changing. We have gone from a cancer risk to children gasping to breathe.

    The day the State learned of the high cancer risk, they should have informed people of the risk and required a mitigation plan. It is still not clear to me if this is a cancer risk like exposure to radiation where you need a radiation badge or like radon in the basement. Both need to be fixed, but the urgency differs.

  33. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 6:47 pm:

    Focus, Bruce. Focus.

  34. - Stumpy's bunker - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 8:59 pm:

    9 X the national cancer rate aside, the governor assures us that the situation is “being monitored” and “managed”.

  35. - Recovering Former State Employee - Monday, Oct 29, 18 @ 9:18 pm:

    Stumpy, he’s just reassigned his crack team from Quincy to handle the matter…

  36. - LINK - Tuesday, Oct 30, 18 @ 4:00 am:

    “he’s just reassigned his crack team from Quincy to handle the matter…”

    I think that email reassigning them came from Diana…just saying.

    PS. On a side note, I Googled Bruce and Diana and it took me to Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince. Wonder if that’s their Halloween costumes this week…

  37. - hmmm - Tuesday, Oct 30, 18 @ 9:18 am:

    Messina hasnt shut the plant down yet? What a hack
    As for his boss, i love his “conservative” accountably.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* *** UPDATED x1 *** FBI agent confirms that feds have been probing Madigan since at least 2014
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