House passes bill to keep Sterigenics closed
A bill passed the Illinois House of Representatives last week that would prevent Sterigenics from reopening its doors in Willowbrook after the sterilization solutions provider's controversial shutdown in February due to dangerously high readings of ethylene oxide emissions.
Senate Bill 1852 was sponsored in the House by House Republican Speaker Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs).
"I do not want Sterigenics to open its doors again," Durkin said. "This bill requires that sterilizers capture 100 percent of emissions. [Illinois Environmental Protection Agency] will have the ability to shut down a facility not following rules. If this entity is somehow able to lift the seal order, the threshold is extremely high."
Rep. Deanne M. Mazzochi (R-Elmhurst), who also sponsored the bill, said it was nine months of work in the making.
"This is going to make our people safe," Mazzochi said. "This is a good bill."
Rep. Anne Stava-Murray (D-Naperville) also was a strong supporter of the bill.
The bill amends the Environmental Protection Act and provides that no person shall conduct ethylene oxide sterilization operations, unless the source captures 100 percent of all emissions and reduces ethylene oxide emissions to the atmosphere from each exhaust point at the source by at least 99.9 percent or to 0.2 parts per million. The bill also requires that, within 180 days after the effective date of the act, or prior to any ethylene oxide sterilization operation for any source that first becomes subject to regulation after the effective date as an ethylene oxide sterilization source, the owner or operator of the source shall conduct an initial emissions test.
The bill prohibits a facility that is permitted to emit ethylene oxide and subjects to a seal order from using ethylene oxide for sterilization or fumigation purposes. The bill passed with 108 Yes votes, zero No votes and one voting Present.