As Willowbrook and surrounding communities continue their fight in court to keep Sterigenics closed, State Senator John Curran (R-Downers Grove) continues to work on legislative solutions to keep dangerous ethylene oxide emissions out of the communities.
“Sterigenics should not be allowed to reopen,” said Sen. Curran. “This facility has been leaking dangerous levels of ethylene oxide into the area for decades, and there has been zero accounting for the damage that they have already done.”
Curran has continued to file and advance legislation to protect the community since news of the issues first broke. He was recently able to pass legislation into law, SB1852, which created the strongest regulations in the nation on the deadly gas. Senator Curran believes the new law, along with existing laws, is more than enough to allow the Illinois EPA to deny Sterigenics any permit to use ethylene oxide in WIllowbrook.
However, the Illinois EPA and Attorney General’s office recently entered into an agreement that could possibly allow the Sterigenics facility to reopen, an agreement that also does not hold the company responsible for years of dangerous emissions. Curran is filing additional legislation to make sure the facility stays closed.
“The only way to guarantee the residents of Willowbrook and the surrounding communities clean air that is free of ethylene oxide today, tomorrow and for generations to come, is to completely eliminate the source of the contamination,” DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said. “I applaud Senator Curran for his continued efforts on behalf of the affected residents not only in his district but on behalf of all Illinoisans who have a right to breathe clean air.”
Senate Bill 2264 completely bans the use of ethylene oxide by CAAPP permit holders for most operations by January of 2021, and for all CAAPP permit holders by January of 2022. The dates are designed to help ensure a safe transition for the supply of critical medical devices. It also creates a strong financial disincentive for Sterigenics to spend millions of dollars in upgrades to attempt to meet the extremely stringent requirements of SB1852 for a very limited term of operation before the complete ban takes effect.
“I am grateful that Governor Pritzker has offered to call a special session to deal with this issue and that he has clearly stated that he supports a ban on the use of ethylene oxide,” said Sen. Curran. “The Governor has proven that he is able to use his position to push through major legislation and I look forward to working with him to advance this bill.”
Senator Curran also continues to support the legal efforts of Willowbrook and the surrounding communities to stop the existing seal order on Sterigenics from being lifted.