CHICAGO - Plants in Illinois producing pet coke would have only two choices if Governor Pat Quinn successfully puts through emergency rules he's planning to announce Thursday: 1.) operate outside compliance, anticipating heavy Illinois EPA fines or 2.) shut down altogether.
Setting aside the normal procedure for tightening EPA regulations, Governor Quinn plans to set into action "emergency rules" concerning pet coke plants that would go into effect immediately. These emergency measures are normally used when the public's health and safety are at stake.
"Two of the biggest concerns of Quinn's emergency rules are the required complete enclosure of pet coke and the timeline proposed without talking to the industry," Tom Wolf of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce said on a conference call Wednesday.
Ahead of Thursday's "emergency action" being considered by Illinois Pollution Control Board against the storage and handling of petroleum coke, coal, and related bulk materials across the entire state, coalitions of job creators are refuting this potential action as detrimental to industries across Illinois affecting thousands of jobs and our state's struggling economy.
Quinn is over-reacting to complaints from southeast side Chicago residents that live near a pet coke plant that had an incident in August 2013, industry spokesmen argued on the call, because the cause of the problem on Chicago's southeast side has been corrected and since last August, there have been no other complaints to the Illinois EPA statewide.
Still, Quinn's emergency rules will affect pet coke-producing companies statewide.
There are 2500 applications for pet coke, including brick and paint production, and has been produce in Illinois safely for over 70 years, Mark Denzler of the Illinois Manufacturers Association said.
If Quinn moves ahead with the emergency rules, pet coke producing companies are planning to file lawsuits to continue production.
"The companies abide by federal and state regulations, and if there is a need for rules to change, the process needs to go through the normal channels," Denzler said. "There is no emergency concerning pet coke, and these proposed emergency rules are an over-reaction."
Photo from WBEZ radio blog