Sen. Durbin takes a look at pet coke issue in Chicago

Dec 17, 2013

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois toured parts of Chicago’s Southeast side Monday. He wanted to get a first-hand look at the pet coke issue. IPR'S Michael Puente has more.

Durbin was joined by residents and environmental advocates, as well as U.S. Congresswoman Robyn Kelly and 10th Ward Alderman John Pope. Durbin says he knows the Southeast side has been the home to heavy industry for more than a century. But, he says, that doesn’t mean companies are off the hook when it comes to protecting residents who live nearby.

DURBIN:  If you want to be an industrial or corporate neighbor in this neighborhood, you’ve got to be a good neighbor. And you’ve got to be as sensitive to the health to the people living around here as you are to your bottom line profits. 

Two companies are under fire for the airborne release of pet coke, an ash-like by-product of crude oil refining.

The firms are subjects of several lawsuits, including from the Illinois Attorney General’s office, to better handle or remove the pet coke from the area.

The pet coke is trucked in from BP’s Refinery a short distance away in Whiting, Indiana.