Kelly co-sponsors ‘pet coke’ bill
October 29, 2013 9:34PM
Updated: December 2, 2013 11:26AM
Responding to news reports of huge piles of black dust, a byproduct of oil refining, on Chicago’s Southeast Side, U.S. Rep Robin Kelly (D-2nd) is co-sponsoring legislation that would test the substance for its health and environmental effects.
Kelly called for the legislation targeting petroleum coke, known commonly as “pet coke,” which has been accumulating greatly in recent years along the Calumet River after being sent from the BP refinery in Whiting, Ind.
Used as industrial fuel in other countries, pet coke is left over after oil collected from Canadian tar sands is processed — oil that is thicker and dirtier than most other types.
Residents of the East Side and South Deering communities who are near the pet coke piles have reported the black dust on their homes and vehicles and worry about it causing health problems. Their complaints have led the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Illinois attorney general’s office to investigate for possible violations.
“We need to better track and regulate pet coke,” Kelly said. “I want to fully understand the possible negative health effects that pet coke presents so I’ll know how best to help protect my constituents from these negative effects.”
Kelly also said she supports the pollution-related violations that the Illinois EPA has filed against Beemsterboer Slag Co., which stockpiles pet coke at a site along the Calumet River.