The Illinois Senate has unanimously passed legislation championed by State Sen. John Curran (R-Downers Grove) that would protect Illinois residents, like those Willowbrook residents impacted by Sterigenics, from the hidden dangers of ethylene oxide. Curran has led the fight against Sterigenics since it was first discovered they were emitting dangerous levels of ethylene oxide into the community. The measures he introduced, and which passed in the Senate, fulfill the pledge he made to residents that the legislature would take action to protect the public’s health, which remains his number one priority.
“This legislation will allow us to create real standards for ethylene oxide levels and it will empower the Illinois EPA to enforce them,” said Curran.
Senate Bill 1854 prohibits any facilities from having any fugitive emissions of ethylene oxide 6 months after it takes effect. In addition, it requires the IEPA to study ethylene oxide levels throughout the state to set a baseline for the levels.
In addition, it would subject facilities to stack testing, which tests emissions at all release points at least once per year. The facilities would also be subject to ambient air testing, at random, four times per year. Any facility that emits Ethylene oxide at a level higher than standards set in the federal Clean Air Act or by the IEPA would be required to immediately cease operations until sufficient changes are made to reduce the emissions below both federal and state standards.
“This legislation would allow regulators to stop ethylene oxide emissions and shut down facilities that release the dangerous gas,” said Curran.
Curran also passed Senate Bill 1852, which in the case of an ethylene oxide leak, requires facilities to notify local government officials and affected property owners within 2500 feet of the leak.