Bryan Cohen Dec. 20, 2013, 8:00pm

CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) -- Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and multiple Chicago officials spoke Thursday on what steps they would be taking to protect residents from petroleum coke and metallurgical coke dust that was stored on the city's southeast side.

Madigan was joined by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel; Alderman George Cardenas, D-12th; Alderman John Pope, D-10th; and leaders from community and environmental groups.

Emanuel introduced new municipal regulations for bulk storage facilities and joined Madigan in an agreed order to require George Beemsterboer Inc. and Beemsterboer Slag Corp. to remove piles of the toxic refinery waste from the southeast Chicago facility.

The agreement also forces Beemsterboer to stop accepting additional waste materials while litigation is pending against the company.

"The actions we are taking today mark a critical step forward in putting a stop to the serious public health threat facing the residents that live near these facilities, but we will continue to push for the strongest possible protections to ensure these conditions can never happen again here in Chicago and across the state," Madigan said.

The attorney general filed a lawsuit in November against Beemsterboer for allegedly storing all its materials in the open, exposing them to the elements without any covering or retaining structures to keep the toxic materials from blowing into nearby neighborhoods.

Inhaling pet coke can lead to serious respiratory health problems, particularly for individuals suffering from asthma, lung disease and heart disease.

Met coke has similar health effects and may be a carcinogen.

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