The future of petcoke

Environmental activist Peggy Salazar holds up a sooty hand after wiping it across a garage across the street from a petcoke storage facility on Chicago's Southeast Side. (Photo by Robin Amer)

Environmental activist Peggy Salazar holds up a sooty hand after wiping it across a garage across the street from a petcoke storage facility on Chicago’s Southeast Side. (Photo by Robin Amer)

I’ve spent much of this summer reporting on Chicago’s Southeast Side for DNAinfo Chicago. The so-called “forgotten 10th Ward” is home to much of what’s left of the city’s heavy industry, so many of the stories I’ve reported have focused on conflicts between industry and the environment.

Case in point: petcoke.

Petcoke is an industrial byproduct that comes from refining oil. It’s produced by the ton, and in Chicago, it largely comes from a BP refinery in Whiting, Ind. There were three petcoke storage facilities on the Southeast Side of the city up until recently. Starting in 2013 environmentalists and Southeast Side residents started pushing for tougher controls on petcoke. The story is still evolving, but as of now, one storage facility has been shuttered, one has been banned from storing petcoke and a third is transitioning to a transfer-only facility.

Here are a few stories I reported this summer. I’ll update the list as I do more.

Chicago bans petcoke from one of two remaining Southeast Side storage sites

Lawmakers want Feds to do petcoke impact study

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