* Press release…
As Willowbrook and surrounding communities continue their fight in court to keep Sterigenics closed, State Senator John Curran (R-Downers Grove) continues to work on legislative solutions to keep dangerous ethylene oxide emissions out of the communities.
“Sterigenics should not be allowed to reopen,” said Sen. Curran. “This facility has been leaking dangerous levels of ethylene oxide into the area for decades, and there has been zero accounting for the damage that they have already done.”
Curran has continued to file and advance legislation to protect the community since news of the issues first broke. He was recently able to pass legislation into law, SB1852, which created the strongest regulations in the nation on the deadly gas. Senator Curran believes the new law, along with existing laws, is more than enough to allow the Illinois EPA to deny Sterigenics any permit to use ethylene oxide in WIllowbrook.
However, the Illinois EPA and Attorney General’s office recently entered into an agreement that could possibly allow the Sterigenics facility to reopen, an agreement that also does not hold the company responsible for years of dangerous emissions. Curran is filing additional legislation to make sure the facility stays closed.
“The only way to guarantee the residents of Willowbrook and the surrounding communities clean air that is free of ethylene oxide today, tomorrow and for generations to come, is to completely eliminate the source of the contamination,” DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said. “I applaud Senator Curran for his continued efforts on behalf of the affected residents not only in his district but on behalf of all Illinoisans who have a right to breathe clean air.”
Senate Bill 2264 completely bans the use of ethylene oxide by CAAPP permit holders for most operations by January of 2021, and for all CAAPP permit holders by January of 2022. The dates are designed to help ensure a safe transition for the supply of critical medical devices. It also creates a strong financial disincentive for Sterigenics to spend millions of dollars in upgrades to attempt to meet the extremely stringent requirements of SB1852 for a very limited term of operation before the complete ban takes effect.
“I am grateful that Governor Pritzker has offered to call a special session to deal with this issue and that he has clearly stated that he supports a ban on the use of ethylene oxide,” said Sen. Curran. “The Governor has proven that he is able to use his position to push through major legislation and I look forward to working with him to advance this bill.”
Senator Curran also continues to support the legal efforts of Willowbrook and the surrounding communities to stop the existing seal order on Sterigenics from being lifted.
I’ve been saying for a while that DuPage County State’s Attorney Berlin is a big key to solving this. He and AG Raoul worked out the agreed order which allowed Sterigenics to reopen and now he’s supporting legislation to outright ban ethylene oxide.
I asked the governor’s office, the House Republicans and the Senate Democrats for a response.
…Adding… John Patterson with the Senate Democrats…
Thanks for letting me know about this, Rich.
We look forward to reviewing the legislation.
Translated: Curran didn’t reach out to the super-majority party before filing his bill.
* House GOP…
Rich - We, too, look forward to reviewing
*** UPDATE *** Governor’s office…
We are reviewing this legislation, but a preliminary analysis indicates it would not apply to Sterigenics, which will not require a CAAPP permit in the future. We remain open to working with members of the General Assembly on this issue.
…Adding… Press release…
Today, the Chemical Industry Council of Illinois issued the following statement after legislation was introduced in the State Senate to ban the use of ethylene oxide:
“We strongly oppose this effort to ban this critical chemical building block. Ethylene Oxide helps make many products Illinois families use every day, including certain plastics, adhesives, safety glass, textiles and personal care products. Critically, ethylene oxide supports our healthcare industry through the sterilization of medical supplies that are relied on by families across our state and region.
“Over 1,500 Illinois jobs would be directly impacted by a ban of ethylene oxide while countless other Illinois jobs dependent on products made with ethylene oxide would be affected.”
“Illinois already has the most stringent standards for ethylene oxide in the nation. Banning this important chemical would harm the healthcare industry our state relies on and unnecessarily burden businesses and consumers across our state.”