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Koch Brothers Company Says It Will Handle Petcoke Better

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jun 11, 2014 6:00PM

Petcoke piles on the banks of the Calumet River.

A company owned by conservative astroturfers Charles and David Koch announced a plan to consolidate the Southeast side facility where it handles and stores petroleum coke and is putting in place “state of the art environmental controls” to address residents’ concerns about air pollution stemming from the dust coming off the petroleum byproduct.

KCBX Terminals said it would move its petcoke storage and handling operations to one location. KCBX currently has two locations where it stores petcoke along the Calumet River. Petcoke is stored along the river where it’s sent to refineries across the U.S. and Canada, including the BP Refinery in Whiting, Ind., where it’s processed into oil. The open piles have been a source of contention for Southeast side residents for months, because dust from the piles enter their homes and floats in the air with any gust of wind. Another company handling petcoke along the Calumet, Beemsterboer Slag Co., agreed to move its mounds of petcoke and implement better storage and handling controls last December.

The KCBX announcement will not be immediate, however. They said it would take up to two years to build the new facility and implement the improved environmental controls. This didn’t sit well with Peggy Salazar of the Southeast Environmental Task Force, which has been calling for an outright ban on the product.

“Anything could happen in two years so we really aren't comfortable with that at all,” she said.

Chicagoist's coverage of the petroleum coke mounds on the Southeast side.