A company embroiled for the past year in legal skirmishes over piles of petroleum coke and coal products on Chicago's southeast side will close its facility and pay a $50,000 fine for violating a cease-and-desist order, city officials said Thursday.
Indiana-based Beemsterboer Slag Corp. has removed mounds of metallurgical coke and coal products being stored without permits along the Calumet River, withdrawn applications for state permits to store petcoke and is trying to sell the property, the city said in a news release.
Company President Alan Beemsterboer did not immediately return a phone message Thursday.
The company in December agreed to remove piles of petcoke, a powdery black byproduct of oil refining, after the state sued the company for air quality and permit violations.
Oil refining has sharply increased in recent years as Midwest facilities process more Canadian tar sands oil. Residents last summer began protesting growing piles of petcoke, citing fears over potential health and environmental harm, after black dust blew off the piles.
Beemsterboer still had 12,000 tons of metallurgical coke and coal products at the site and planned to bring in another 8,000 tons when the city issued the cease-and-desist order Aug. 7, the city said, adding that the company violated the order for 10 days and attempted to bring in more truckloads, only to have them blocked by city personnel.
"The city's residents and our air quality are protected now that the harmful effects of petcoke residue from this major facility are out of this community," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a written statement.
A new city ordinance bans new facilities and expansions.