The manufacturing sector has a problem with the state’s new rules regarding petcoke. Petcoke is a byproduct of oil refining, and it has industrial uses in the production of cement, steel, paper and brick, and it’s used as a coal substitute. Petcoke piles became a neighborhood nuisance in Chicago last year, soiling homes and cars when it blew around, but Mark Denzler of the Illinois Manufacturers Association says that was a one-time incident that doesn’t call for further regulation.
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“We have petcoke in the Metro East, we have it around the Joliet area, we have it around Chicago, and when we reached out to the attorney general’s office, we reached out to the Illinois EPA, we asked if there’s been any other incidents across the state that’s been reported, and the answer is no,” he said. The Illinois EPA will file new regulations this week. Denzler says the rules that will require petcoke piles to be covered and for the petcoke to be stored for a limited time are so burdensome that they are effectively a ban on petcoke, which would force businesses that use it to pay more to have it shipped in.