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Illinois AG files lawsuit against coke site

By Bryan Cohen | Nov 25, 2013

CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) -- Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Friday announced a lawsuit against the owner and operator of a bulk materials storage facility, resolving allegations of air pollution violations.

George Beemsterboer Inc. and Beemsterboer Slag Corp. operate a 22-acre facility along the Calumet River in Chicago's southeast side.

The lawsuit seeks a court order that would remove petroleum coke and metallurgical coke from the facility until proper permits are obtained to cease all operations.

Pet coke and met coke can contribute to respiratory health problems, particularly for individuals with asthma, heart disease and lung disease. Met coke also is thought to be a carcinogen and a toxic agent.

Beemsterboer allegedly stored all its materials out in the open, exposed them to the elements and did not use any covering or retaining structures to keep the materials from blowing into nearby neighborhoods.

"Beemsterboer's failure to follow the environmental laws is a serious threat to the public health," Madigan said in a statement. "The company must take action immediately to stop the air pollution from its illegal operations."

The lawsuit seeks to prohibit Beemsterboer from the storing, handling, screening, loading and unloading of pet coke, met coke and other unpermitted materials at its 106th Street location until it obtains an operating permit from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

The city of Chicago is seeking a preliminary injunction to stop Beemsterboer from violating city ordinances.

The lawsuit also alleges seven counts of permit violations, the failure to have a plan in place to control dust from leaving the site, the failure to pay permit fees and the failure to submit timely emissions reports.

The lawsuit seeks a civil penalty of $50,000 for each Illinois Environmental Protection Act violation and a civil penalty of $10,000 for each day of violation. The suit also seeks remedies and civil penalties for alleged violations of Chicago's Municipal Code.

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Organizations in this Story

City of Chicago U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

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