Two Strikes – Medical Equipment Cleaning Facility Hit with Over 30 Lawsuits, While its Doors Remain Closed by State Regulators

Over 30 personal injury lawsuits have been filed against Sterigenics LLC in Cook County, Illinois. The suits are the latest development in the company’s issues arising out of claims its medical equipment cleaning plant emits harmful fumes.

Jeanne Hochhalter is one of those suing Sterigenics. She claims that the cancer she developed is directly related to the plant’s release of the chemical ethylene oxide.

“I got breast cancer. I have no family history of it,” Hochhalter said.

A Sterigenics spokesman said the company “has consistently …

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Pincer Move? State AGs Employ Two-Pronged Attack on U.S. EPA Over Landfill Emissions

A multistate coalition of Attorneys General, including California, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont; and the California Air Resources Board, joined to file comments demanding that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) withdraw its proposed rule delaying by four years implementation of a regulation that would reduce emissions from landfills.

The regulation at issue, known formally as the 2016 Emission Guidelines and Compliance Times for Municipal Solid Waste Landfill, was designed to reduce landfill emissions of carbon dioxide, methane …

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Environmental Groups Urge Illinois State Legislature to Take Action Regarding Coal Ash Ponds

A report, authored by the Environmental Integrity Project, Earth justice, Prairie Rivers Network, and the Sierra Club, found that groundwater near 90 percent of reporting Illinois coal ash sites contain toxic pollutants like arsenic, cobalt, and lithium. The report’s results are based on data sets made public for the first time earlier this year as part of new federal regulations of coal ash, a toxic byproduct of coal-fired power generation that is commonly stored in unlined ponds or landfills near the plants. The groups are …

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EPA Releases Report Linking Sterilizing Chemical to Increased Risk of Cancer

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that a suburban area in Willowbrook, Illinois is facing a risk of cancer over nine times the national average due to contamination by ethylene oxide. Ethylene oxide has been used for decades as fumigant to sterilize heat-sensitive medical equipment and other goods. The volatile, easily absorbed chemical has been recognized as a carcinogen since 1985. In December 2016, the EPA released a re-assessment linking it more conclusively to breast and blood cancer.

Sterigenics International, a company that’s …

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Extra-Terrestrial? Illinois Attorney General to File Suit Over Emission Controls in Wisconsin

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has announced she plans to file a lawsuit challenging a recently issued ruling by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). While lawsuits involving environmental regulations between individual states and the federal government are becoming increasingly prevalent, this suit is noteworthy as it involves a manufacturing facility being built by Foxconn Technology Group (Foxconn) just north of the Illinois border in southeast Wisconsin. The Taiwanese company plans to build flat-screen display panels at the factory and campus in Racine County that …

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Scrapping the Scrubbers — Illinois EPA Proposes Wholesale Changes to the Pollution Limits for Coal Plants

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has announced new rule proposals for sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from coal plants. The proposed amendments to the state’s Multi-Pollutant Strategy would limit sulfur dioxide emissions to 55,000 tons per year and limit nitrogen oxide emissions to 25,000 tons per year.

The Multi-Pollutant Standard, or “MPS,” was originally negotiated between power companies and Illinois in 2006. Under the MPS, the power companies agreed to install pollution control equipment for sulfur dioxide, mercury and nitrogen oxide by certain deadlines. …

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Illinois Digs Nuclear? Federal Court Upholds Illinois State Subsidies to Nuclear Power Plants

The State of Illinois recently passed the Future Energy Jobs Act and created a “zero emission credit” program to subsidize nuclear power generation and corresponding sales of nuclear power in the energy market. The statute grants zero emission credits to certain qualifying energy-generating facilities, specifically, several nuclear power plants owned by Exelon in Illinois. Utilities that sell electricity to consumers must purchase zero emission credits from the qualifying power plants, and those utilities then pass the costs of the zero emission credits onto their customers. …

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Paper Beats Rock? Illinois Legislature Entertaining Dueling Bills on Rock Quarry Water Monitoring

As the clock winds down on the 2017 legislative session, the Illinois legislature is currently debating over two diametrically opposed bills regarding the proper testing to be done on the groundwater surrounding reclaimed rock quarries.

Representative Margo McDermed, a Republican, has sponsored legislation that would require groundwater monitoring around quarries that are being used to store construction waste. Under current Illinois Environmental Protection Agency regulations, concrete free of steel reinforcement bars, rock, stone, brick, and asphalt from sites where buildings are going up or being …

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