HazMat Management

Billionaire Koch brothers threatened with petcoke lawsuit in Chicago

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May 8, 2014 by Hazmat Management

Alleged pollution from petcoke storage facilities in southeast Chicago has led to a threat of litigation by two environmental advocacy groups.

The U.S. Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Southeast Environmental Task Force (SETF) have both given 90-day notice of their intention to sue billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, who own companies such as KCBX Terminals Co. The groups allege that the petcoke piles have polluted black dust — a byproduct of the oil refining process — around Chicago and areas like the Calumet River.

“People are complaining about finding dust from these sites inside their homes,” Peggy Salazar, SETF executive director, said in a statement. “Black dust is coating their houses and probably their lungs. This has to stop. And hopefully this suit will achieve that,” she added.

Recently, Chicago City Council approved regulations that ban new petcoke storage facilities from opening up in the city, but do not require the shutdown of the three local sites currently in operation.

View the intent to sue letter here