In Spring 2019, Illinois passed EtO laws that were touted as some of the “toughest in the nation”. In actuality, these laws are filled with egregious loopholes that allow polluters to legally pollute.

What we know now (via the OIG report) is that these laws were passed in a vacuum, for not only was Lake County NOT given adequate information regarding the extent of our pollution, the ability to test the air prior to the passage of these laws was suppressed by both the feds and the state.

Here are the major loopholes found in Illinois EtO laws SB1852 & SB1854:

1. No caps in IL laws on EtO emissions (stack and fugitives), only caps in IEPA permits.

2. No current limits, penalties, or monitoring near warehouses storing products processed by EtO. No existing emission controls for warehouses belonging to commercial sterilizers.

• Nearby communities remain unaware of dangers.

3. No financial penalties for EtO emission violations.

4. No shutdowns required for companies exceeding IEPA permitted levels.

5. A reliance on polluters to honestly self-report.

• Vantage Suspected Leaks not investigated by ILEPA because according to ILEPA “none were reported by Vantage.”

Vantage “revised” previously reported EtO emissions and REMOVED 64,000 lbs of emissions data from TRI report.

6. Need for stronger air monitoring & reporting requirements for Medline and Vantage.

• 24 hours/day – 365 days a year fenceline monitoring; data needs to be available for public access from ILEPA website.

• Lack of continuous fenceline air monitoring leaves residents at risk.

7. Need for stronger inspection requirements by IL EPA.

• Need more than one pre-planned yearly inspection.

8. Risk Management Plans and Notice requirements.

• Medline taking advantage of federal loophole in Clean Air Act requiring polluters to have RMP for EtO above 10,000 lbs storage (Medline’s ILEPA Clean Air Act permit is for 9,999.0 lbs.)  

Published by stopeto

Citizen-led movement seeking to curb cancerous Ethylene Oxide (EtO) pollution and environmental racism and injustice in northeast Lake County, IL.

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