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AG sues over pet coke pollution in Chicago

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CHICAGO | Attorney General Lisa Madigan is suing a Chicago company for alleged air pollution violations involving piles of petroleum coke and coal.

Madigan filed the lawsuit Monday against KCBX Terminals Co., which stores petroleum coke, called pet coke, in huge piles along the Calumet River on the city's Southeast Side. Pet coke is a byproduct of oil refining that is burned as a fuel.

Residents in the area complain that black dust from the piles coats their homes and cars. They also worry that it will cause respiratory and other health problems.

Madigan says the piles have been growing without adequate safeguards.

The pet coke comes from the nearby BP refinery in Whiting and eventually is shipped to end users.

A KCBX spokeswoman did not immediately respond to phone and email messages.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency last week issued a notice of violation to Beemsterboer Slag Corp., which stores petroleum coke along the Calumet River in the city's 10th Ward.

Possible violations of federal emissions standards are also under investigation, IEPA spokesman Andrew Mason said.

U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Matteson, alleges the pet coke, which is stored outdoors, blows into Lake Michigan, the Calumet River and surrounding neighborhoods on windy days.

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