Senate GOP, Curran, take next step in Sterigenics shutdown
The Senate GOP held a press conference Tuesday about the closing of the Sterigenics plant in Willowbrook last week.
State Sen. John Curran (R-Woodridge) said the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) decision to shut down the Sterigenics plant in Willowbrook was a positive first step.
"We need to act on a permanent basis," Curran said at the press conference. "We need to make sure policies are in place."
Curran filed three bills to address the issue, calling for a legislative solution to permanently close the facility.
Senate Bill 1852 amends the Environmental Protection Act to provide that in the event of an ethylene oxide leak, facilities have to issue a notice to all property owners and local government within 2,500 feet of the leak site.
Senate Bill 1853 amends the Environmental Protection Act to provide that the Illinois EPA must re-evaluate the current air pollution operating permit of any facility emitting ethylene oxide. It also provides that the Illinois EPA must conduct a 90-day public hearing process on those permits.
Senate Bill 1854 amends the Environmental Protection Act to provide that no facility can have fugitive emissions of ethylene oxide above zero.
"These are bipartisan common-sense bills," Curran said.
State Sen. Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) said the legislature needs to make sure the bills pass as soon as possible to protect the Willowbrook community.
"There are also two facilities in Lake County that are emitting EO," Bush said. "I am honored to join Sen. Curran in this fight."
The bills also drew support from Rep. Ann Williams (D-Chicago).
"We’re committed to finding the right resolution to help communities," Williams said.
The Illinois EPA and the U.S. EPA are at odds regarding the shutdown of portions of the Sterigenics plant. While the Illinois EPA issued the seal order, the U.S. EPA was more cautious of its approach to the plant's emissions.
"[M]onitoring information about ethylene oxide in the Willowbrook area remains limited," the U.S. EPA reported. "It remains premature to draw conclusions about long-term health risks from the data."