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November 4, 2013

MADIGAN FILES SUIT AGAINST PETROLEUM COKE SITE FOR AIR POLLUTION

Refinery Waste at Calumet River Terminal Sending Clouds of Black Dust into Nearby Residential Area

Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today filed suit against KCBX Terminals Company for alleged air pollution caused by mounting piles of petroleum coke and coal at its location along the Calumet River in Chicago. The growing mounds of refinery waste allegedly are sending clouds of black dust into nearby residential areas on the city’s southeast side.

“The piles of refinery waste at this site are growing by the day without the appropriate protections to ensure nearby residents’ health and safety,” Madigan said. “It’s critical that KCBX quickly installs safeguards to protect the surrounding community.”

KCBX operates a bulk loading facility at 10730 S. Burley Ave., managing piles of coal and petroleum coke, a refinery waste produced by the BP facility in Whiting, Ind. Also referred to as “pet coke,” the solid by-product of petroleum refining generally contains high concentrations of carbon, sulfur and also may include trace elements of metals such as vanadium, nickel, chromium and lead. Pet coke can be used to fuel coal-fired power plants and cement kilns. Inhaling pet coke can contribute to respiratory health problems, particularly for individuals who suffer from heart and lung disease, and asthma.

BP is expected to complete a project this year that will allow the oil refinery to triple the amount of petroleum coke produced, which will result in increased deliveries to the KCBX-owned site.

The Attorney General’s complaint, which was filed in Cook County Circuit Court today, follows an Oct. 24 referral from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. Along with air pollution violations, the complaint includes a second count citing KCBX for its failure to update and maintain an operations plan for properly containing the dust from the refinery waste. Madigan maintains that KCBX improperly relied on a plan created by the former owner of the site. In each count of the complaint, the Attorney General seeks the statutory maximum civil penalty.

Assistant Attorney General Kathryn Pamenter and Environmental & Energy Counsel James Gignac are handling the case for Madigan’s Environmental Enforcement Bureau.

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