skip to main content
skip to newscasts

Saturday, September 30, 2023

Public News Service Logo
facebook instagram linkedin reddit youtube twitter
view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Educators preserve, shape future with 'ALT NEW COLLEGE'; NY appeals court denies delay for Trump civil fraud trial; Michigan coalition gets cash influx to improve childcare.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

A House Committee begins its first hearing in the Biden impeachment inquiry, members of Congress talk about the looming budget deadline and energy officials testify about the Maui wildfires.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

A small fire department in rural Indiana is determined not to fail new moms and babies, the growing election denial movement has caused voting districts to change procedures and autumn promises spectacular scenery along America's rural byways.

Groups: EPA, Others Need to Step Up Oversight of Chemical Plants

play audio
Play

Friday, February 17, 2023   

Environmental groups in Illinois are pushing state and federal officials to tighten regulations on businesses that use toxic substances after a fire and explosion last month in north-central Illinois.

A Jan. 11 fire and explosion at a chemical company in La Salle spewed a cloud of toxic particles across the area. The city of 10,000 was covered with pink dust that contained sulfuric acid, lead and mercury.

Hannah Lee Flath, communications coordinator for the Sierra Club Illinois chapter, said it was clear the federal Environmental Protection Agency and its Illinois counterpart did not properly enforce existing regulations - and that local officials didn't have an adequate disaster plan.

"Wind and weather can carry ash and smoke widely, and so folks closest to the plant are certainly more impacted immediately," she said. "But we saw that pink material was landing on the Illinois River, and so it's very clear that it did travel."

Flath said she sees eerie similarities between the La Salle disaster and a recent incident in East Palestine, Ohio, where 20 derailed tanker cars burned and spread vinyl chloride and other toxins across the area.

The EPA and Carus Chemical Co. did not respond by deadline to a request for comment.

Flath said what happened in Illinois and Ohio are not isolated events, and both communities face long-term dangers from the toxic substances. Studies show that a chemical disaster occurs, on average, every three days in the United States, and often in less-than-affluent neighborhoods.

"These types of facilities are more frequently located in Black and Brown communities, lower-income communities that are already overburdened," she said. "Oftentimes, these types of plants are in locations that are already struggling because of other environmental issues and pollution."

Flath added that the Sierra Club and other environmental groups are working with the EPA and other agencies to develop proactive plans to protect communities, before and during chemical leaks.

"We're partnering with environmental-justice organizations and other groups who work on toxics issues," she said, "to urge the EPA and the Biden administration to make sure preventive measures are taken, to try to ensure these disasters don't happen in the first place."

Disclosure: Sierra Club contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Energy Policy, Environment, Environmental Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
more stories
Michigan is among 20 states to receive a multiyear grant from the Pritzker Children's Initiative. (SneakyPeakPoints/peopleimages.com/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

The coalition known as "Think Babies Michigan" has secured more than $36 million in funding to offer grants to child-care providers for infants and to…


Social Issues

play sound

Nearly 100 school board elections are coming up in Minnesota this fall, with some gaining attention because of the candidates who are running…

Social Issues

play sound

The so-called conservative "hostile takeover" of a small, progressive liberal arts college in Florida is seeing some resistance from former students …


Only 546 of the tenants in the the 5,563 eviction cases filed in Nebraska in the first half of 2023 were represented by legal counsel. (tab62/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

High rent prices are draining the budgets of many Nebraska renters, who are paying between 30% and 50% of their income on rent. In some parts of the …

Social Issues

play sound

As the federal government nears a shutdown over a budget impasse in Congress, Wisconsin offices that help low-income individuals worry they'll have …

Lewiston, Idaho, sits on the Snake River at the border with Washington. (Guy Sagi/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

Indigenous leaders are traveling through the Northwest to highlight the plight of dwindling fish populations in the region. The All Our Relations …

Social Issues

play sound

Washington performs well in a new report scoring states' long-term care systems. The Evergreen State ranked second in AARP's Long-Term Services and …

Social Issues

play sound

A lack of housing options, mental-health challenges and a lack of connections and support have combined to drive an uptick in the number of foster …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021