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City Smacks Down KCBX Terminals Request For More Time To Comply With Petcoke Regulations

By Chuck Sudo in News on Feb 16, 2015 10:10PM

Petcoke piles on the banks of the Calumet River.

KCBX Terminals, the Koch Brothers-affiliated company responsible for piles of petroleum coke laying in the open on the city’s Southeast Side, was denied a request Monday for more time to comply with city regulations for properly storing the oil refining byproduct. Whether the city’s smackdown will result in actual action remains to be seen.

In a letter to KCBX's attorneys, The Chicago Department of Public Health rejected the request for a 14-month extension due to “inadequacies in the information provided by KCBX in its request.”

If the letter from the Health Department to KCBX’s attorneys is an indication, KCBX did nothing more than request the extension and hoped the Emanuel administration would comply. But the “close proximity of KCBX’s operations to residences, parks and schools” made it clear the company needs to stop dawdling and start building that proposed $120 million petcoke enclosure, pronto.

KCBX’s north facility is located less than a block from a residential neighborhood that has been complaining for months about heavy clouds of soot carried via wind into their homes. Another company handling petcoke along the Calumet, Beemsterboer Slag Co., agreed to move its mounds of petcoke and implement better storage and handling controls in December 2013 so we can’t see why KCBX is dragging their feet on this issue. It’s almost as though any company associated with the astroturfing Koch Brothers can’t help but be almost cartoonishly evil.

Mayor Emanuel said the health department’s decision is further proof he’s serious about keeping Southeast side residents from having black lung.

"From the beginning my message to the petcoke operators has been simple: clean up or shut down," said Mayor Emanuel. "KCBX needs to demonstrate that it will take serious steps to reduce the impact of its operations on the residents of the Southwest Side or it has no place in any part of Chicago."

Read the Health Department’s letter rejecting KCBX’s request here.

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