A South Side company is being targeted by state environmental regulators after several complaints about air pollution in two Chicago neighborhoods.
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency issued a notice of air pollution violation to Beemsterboer Slag Corp., which stockpiles petroleum coke, or “petcoke,” along the Calumet River.
The complaint comes after several reports of resident complaints of black clouds of dust.
During the past three months, residents in the East Side and South Deering neighborhoods have frequently complained about thick black clouds of dust that force people to keep their children inside with the windows closed, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Congresswoman Robin Kelly also threw her support behind the agency’s decision.
“We need to better track and regulate petcoke,” Kelly said in a statement. “I look forward to working with state and local officials in formulating new national environmental safety regulations on petcoke.”
Kelly is a co-sponsor of legislation calling for testing of the health and environmental effects of petcoke, a black, pebbly byproduct of oil refineries that is left over from oil extracted from the Canadian “tar sands.”
The material is dirtier and dustier than coal and as such contains more air and water pollutants, according to a release from Kelly’s office.
The petcoke is stored outside and blows into Lake Michigan, the Calumet River and the surrounding neighborhoods on windy days and the state EPA has demanded the company reduce the pollution at the site, apply for necessary permits and file pollution reduction plans, the Tribune reported.