Protect Neighborhoods from Exposed Oil Waste


Target: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Goal: Ensure that piles of toxic petroleum coke are properly stored in an environmentally sound manner as soon as possible so neighboring communities are protected from further harm.

The south side of Chicago has become home to massive black mounds of a by-product from the oil refinery process, called petroleum coke. Petroleum coke, or petcoke, is fine carbon dust that has plagued Chicago’s south side communities. The chemical composition is very similar to that of coal dust. This has caused the EPA to declare that the fuel source is too dirty to be used in the United States. After taking these things into consideration local communities have become very concerned by its ever growing presence in their neighborhoods.

Much of the petcoke is coming from the refinery process at a BP facility in Whiting, Indiana and is then transported to locations along the Calumet River in Chicago. The Chicago locations are owned by KCBX, a subsidiary of the Koch brothers. Once it is in Chicago, they then begin the process of shipping it to other nations with less stringent environmental regulations.

However, just because it is not burned in the United States for fuel does not mean it doesn’t have any impact on the environment in the United States. Often times petcoke is transported on railcars that have no covers, leaving it vulnerable to the wind. The mounds of Petcoke in Chicago are also completely exposed to the elements. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and city health officials have recognized the potential for environmental damage and have mandated that all petcoke piles be enclosed by June 2016.

KCBX has filed for extensions from the city requesting an extra 13 to 14 months to complete the enclosure. That would allow Petcoke to continue to spread across surrounding communities for an entire extra year.

Signing this petition will go a long way to express to Mayor Emanuel that citizens will not stand for companies like KCBX taking any extra time to pollute our air, land, and water.


Dear Mayor Rahm Emanuel,

The petroleum coke piles located on the city’s south side have already affected the neighboring communities for long enough. KCBX’s request for an extension of 13-14 months to complete the petcoke enclosures must be rejected.

Petcoke is very similar to dust produced from mining coal, which has been shown to cause scarring of the lungs and emphysema. It would be very irresponsible of the city to allow the exposed storage of petcoke any longer than is absolutely necessary.

The city must hold KCBX to the original deadline of June 2016 to prevent any further environmental damage and any further adverse health affects to residents of nearby communities.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Eclectablog

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