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Illinois AG Files Lawsuit Against Koch Brothers Company Over Petcoke Pile Site

By Chuck Sudo in News on Nov 6, 2013 4:50PM

Petcoke piles on the banks of the Calumet River.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a lawsuit Monday against a waste storage company owned by billionaire industrialists and Tea Party astroturfers Charles and David Koch in connection with the huge piles of petroleum coke along the Calumet River on the Southeast side.

The lawsuit against KCBX Terminals, filed by Madigan on behalf of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, accuses the company of violating state law by failing to provide adequate storage for the petcoke, a byproduct of oil refining that’s used in other countries as a cheap source of fuel. The piles of petcoke along the Calumet have resulted in thick dark clouds of black dust blowing in the wind and has forced families to bring their children inside and close their windows lest the soot contaminate everything it touches.

KCBX, in a statement, declined comment on the lawsuit and repeated its original statement when the first reports of dust from the piles surfaced.

"In December of 2012, KCBX acquired the Chicago Fuels Terminal from DTE Energy Co. We are in the final stages of constructing more than $10 million in upgrades, including improvements to the dust suppression capabilities. KCBX puts a priority on regulatory compliance and managing operations in a manner that protects the health and safety of employees, the community, and the environment.”

Last month the Illinois EPA launched an investigation into another company hired to store petcoke along the Calumet River. Beemsterboer Slag Corp. is accused by the state EPA of violating air pollution limits while handling petcoke, overhauling its storage terminal along the river without permits and not filing plans to limit air-based particulate from the mounds so as not to endanger the health of residents who live near it.

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