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updated: 2/19/2014 8:48 AM

Illinois AG works on petroleum coke legislation

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Associated Press

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and state Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie have worked together on new legislation regarding petroleum coke.

Madigan's office announced the legislation on Wednesday. It would regulate storage facilities that handle "petcoke." The grainy black substance is a byproduct of oil refining. Residents on Chicago's Southeast Side have recently complained of health and pollution fears after piles amassed along the Calumet River.

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The new legislation would require facilities to fully enclose the material if it is within 5,000 feet of communities. The city of Chicago wants to ban any new facilities that handle petroleum coke or coal and prevent existing terminals from expanding.

Industry officials said the city and state are overreacting because petcoke and coal have been handled safely in the area for years.

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