U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Gary Peters (D-MI) introduced legislation Tuesday that would lead to the study of the health and environmental effects of petroleum coke, a powdery byproduct of oil refining.
The Petroleum Coke Transparency and Public Health Act of 2015 would be the first bill to require federal research on the potential effects of petcoke. Afterwards, based on the results, the government would then craft legislation to regulate how the substance is stored.
"As we continue to explore new methods of energy production, it is important that we understand the health and environmental impacts of those technologies," Durbin said. "While we've made progress in limiting and containing pet coke on Chicago's southeast side, we need to be sure it doesn't land in another community's backyard in Illinois or a nearby state. The comprehensive study of petroleum coke authorized by this bill can give us the information we need to continue expanding our energy economy while protecting our public health and environment."
The bill was spurred by the petcoke being stored along the Detroit River and Calumet River in Michigan and Illinois, respectively.