Environmentalists and Southeast Side Chicagoans are furious over recent changes made to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposed ordinance to crack down on petcoke, claiming the revisions have weakened the legislation.
The mayor’s measure, initially introduced at March’s city council meeting, originally sought to ban new petcoke facilities from opening in the city and prohibit existing sites from expanding. But at the council’s zoning committee meeting Tuesday, the public learned the pending petcoke ordinance, co-sponsored by Alds. Ed Burke (14th) and John Pope (10th), has since been revised.
“That blindsided us,” Peggy Salazar of the Southeast Environmental Task Force told Progress Illinois after the nearly two-hour committee hearing. “How can they provide us with information, an ordinance to review and evaluate … then when we get here to testify and speak [on] the ordinance, they give us something totally different than what we did all that work on? How can they do that? How is that allowed?”
The council’s Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards agreed to defer consideration of the measure until its April 24 meeting to allow the public more time to review the substitute ordinance.
“I think there may be a few more items we can add,” Pope said before asking the committee to defer the vote.