Chicago-land Hosts 3 Worst Polluting Refineries
Exxon, BP and Citgo dump toxic chemicals in Lake Michigan and poison our air with deadly pollution.
Climate STRIKE! Fridays for Futures is sponsoring another climate strike this March 3rd from 2 to 4pm at Heritage Green Park•610-30 W Adams St, Chicago. For more information visit firstname.lastname@example.org. Come out and make your voices heard!
Fossil Fuel Emissions to Peak by 2025 according to a new report released Feb 9th, 2023 by Rystad Energy, an energy analytics and consulting group. The progress comes, according to the report because of the success of worldwide efforts to de-carbonize. Europe, US, China are important drivers in the peaking of emissions and Rystad believes that once peak emissions are reached, the world will settle “into a steady annual decline as industries clean up their carbon footprint” Click the link below. Fossil fuel emissions to peak within two years as global decarbonization picks up steam (rystadenergy.com)
Lab Figures out how to Capture Carbon for $39/Metric Ton. Carbon capture is climate action’s great white whale. Many consider it a dodge by oil companies and heavy industry to keep polluting – business as usual. Plus it has always been too expensive. Now at the Pacific Northwest Lab, scientists report they have developed a way to capture carbon at its source, from the flue, for $39 per metric ton, far cheaper than any peer-reviewed scientist has proposed in the past. Capturing carbon at the source, rather than chasing it down in the atmosphere is far cheaper. Still, better to stop using fossil fuels altogether and spend $0. And this does nothing for the legacy load still in the atmosphere that we have to drawdown to stop warming. To read more click here: New technique from U.S. national lab to remove CO2 at record-low cost (cnbc.com)
One Earth Film Festival to Feature CEJA Film. This year’s One Earth film festival to be held in person and virtually on March 7th will show No Climate. No Equity. No Deal, which documents the years-long grassroots process to pass the most equitable climate legislation in the nation in Illinois. The CEJA film will be co-screened with the film Wasteland: Iowa. The festival will be held in person at Chicago at the McKinley Park Fieldhouse and in Oak Park at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. The festival runs from March 3rd to March 12th this year.
Report: Most Deadly Oil Refineries in the Country in Chicago-land
by Rich Foss
The three most polluting refineries in America are located here in the Chicago area, according to a new analysis of federal data from the non-profit "Environmental Integrity Project." All three refineries dump toxic pollutants into Lake Michigan and other area bodies of water, which cause health problems for water life and for people. Three different major oil companies own these refiners: Exxon-Mobil in Joliet, Citgo in Lemont, and BP in Whiting, Indiana.
The discharging of this toxic waste is legal, despite the Clean Water Act in 1972. Eric Schaeffer, co-founder and executive director at the Environmental Integrity Project, says, “Most of the pollution from refineries isn’t subject to any federal standards at all under the Clean Water Act, which is pretty alarming since the Clean Water Act is more than 50 years old. The few federal standards that we have apply only to a subset of pollutants. They don’t cover some of the more dangerous toxins that refineries discharge. They don’t cover nitrogen, they don’t cover sulfates and chlorides. … And so, not surprisingly, there’s a lot of that pollution coming out of refineries and Illinois has some of the worst in terms of the pollutants we looked at.”
The United States EPA is supposed to update its standards for regulations on water treatment, but that apparently has not been happening. All of these refineries discharge selenium in Chicago waterways. Selenium is a chemical that is fatal for fish, and causes dizziness, hair loss and other health issues in humans. But it’s not just the chemicals in the waterways, of course. The toxic pollution pouring out of the smoke stacks causes severe health risks for those who live within ten miles of a refinery. According to a study by the State of California, “some adverse health effects living near a refinery include: increased risk of asthma, cancers, birth defects, neurological damage, cardiovascular damage, difficulty breathing, and blood disorders.” Imagine a day when these refineries are gone, torn down; all its parts recycled, and the air becomes clean, healthy again.
Advocacy should be ramped up on regulating and eventually closing and tearing down these refineries. Because for all the damage the pollution itself does to people and animals, the gasoline that is made for the internal combustion engine is what is going to put us all out of business. Unless we act.
Meet Our Member: Larry Coble
Today’s featured member is Larry Coble. Larry is a former audio engineer in the Live Sound and Recording Industry. Now he spends his work days brewing beer and teaching people how to brew beer. He’s also the President of the 350 Chicago Board of Directors!
“[D]oing something and taking action relieved my despair, because, while I know I have my shoulder to a rather large boulder, I am not pushing it alone.” - Larry Coble
How long have you been involved with 350 Chicago? From nearly the beginning, I helped Melissa, the original founder, sort of re-co-found the group when it was just she and I back in 2014.
You do so much for 350 Chicago! Can you give us a quick overview of what you do for the group? I am the President of the Board of Directors, lead the Fundraising and Communications teams, and have been a lead organizer for our first 2 big actions: the Fed Up event targeting the Federal Reserve and Chase Bank on October 29, 2021 and the Global Climate Strike on September 23, 2022.
What's your favorite 350 Chicago memory? I have 2 of them: Melissa asked me to meet her for coffee in 2014 to discuss the chapter. We sat down across from each other (she was in her workout clothes; I was in my brewing togs) and she asked, "Are you committed to doing this?" And I responded, "Yes, are you?" And she said, "Yes." Everything, all of our efforts and successes, stem from that meeting.
The second: at City Hall, when the vote to codify the City's Fossil Fuel Divestment law actually passed unanimously. I literally walked around for a couple of weeks feeling so happy that we, as a group, had accomplished this really hard task after 7 years of hard effort.
What turned you into a climate activist? In 2013, I heard an interview with a climate scientist on the radio and it terrified me. I literally had to leave the room a couple of times and returned each time with real trepidation and continued listening. For a couple of weeks, I was depressed and just couldn't shake the despair. I envisioned a blighted future for my 11-year-old son during periods of real anguish over the potential fate of the planet and his life. I hate feeling helpless, so I found 350 Chicago on Facebook and reached out to Melissa and began a great partnership and friendship with her ever since. Periodically, when one or the other of us feels down about climate news, we will text or call each other to talk about our thoughts and feelings. Her friendship over the years has been invaluable to me.
What's one climate action you've taken that you're proud of? Becoming involved in 350 Chicago. I learned that doing something and taking action relieved my despair, because, while I know I have my shoulder to a rather large boulder, I am not pushing it alone. I have met so many wonderful people through 350 Chicago and our partners in the climate movement over the last 8 years.
Introvert or extrovert? I am dispositionally an introvert, but have worked hard to be more of an extrovert, feeling confident to speak in public and meet people over the years.
Always early, right on time, or stuck in traffic? Typically, I am a just in time or mostly early type of person.
Thinker or doer? I used to be more of a thinker, but since 350 Chicago, I lean more toward the doer aspect of my personality.
Summer or winter? Neither. I am a Spring and Fall type of person.
Chocolate or vanilla? Both. I used to love the chocolate and vanilla swirl ice cream cones as a child.
Cats or dogs? Cats, definitely cats. I have 2 of them, but who doesn't love dogs as well.
Larry’s cat Klondike, helping him schedule his work day on the computer calendar