Action Alert: Coal Ash Rulemaking in Illinois

This fall members of the Diocese of Joliet’s Laudato Si’ Committee spoke at the Illinois Pollution Control Board public hearings on Coal Ash Rulemaking. The Diocese of Joliet’s Laudato Si’ Ministries is in support of strong rules for coal ash pollution in Illinois, that protect human and environmental health. Your voice is needed! You can still submit written comments to the Illinois Pollution Control Board. Here is more information on coal ash and rulemaking in Illinois to help form your comments (en Español). Remarks can be submitted to For questions contact Kayla S. Jacobs, Director of Programs of Laudato Si’ Ministries, at:

Read the full text of Kayla Jacobs’ (Diocese of Joliet Laudato Si’ Committee Member) remarks at the September 30, 2020 hearing and Albert Karvelis’ (Diocese of Joliet Laudato Si’ Committee Member) remarks at the August 13, 2020 hearing here:

Kayla’s remarks:

Hello my name is Kayla Jacobs. I am the Director of Programs for the Catholic Diocese of Joliet’s Laudato Si’ Ministries, which is our environment ministry. The objective of our ministry is to protect God’s creation and ensure the common good of all creatures, especially the most poor and vulnerable. Because of this we support strong rules for coal ash pollution in Illinois, that protect human and environmental health

Our diocese consists of 125 Churches and over 600,000 parishioners. The hub of our diocese is Joliet, which is also home to the Lincoln Stone Quarry. We were recently informed that the Lincoln Stone Quarry is trying to contend that these rules do not apply to them because they were considered a landfill by the Illinois EPA. We are in strong favor that these rules apply to the Lincoln Stone Quarry and that these rules do not provide a loophole for coal ash landfills and dumps. 

We know that the Lincoln Stone Quarry has leached contaminants in our water in the past. Strong measures must be put in place to make sure it doesn’t happen again in the future. Joliet already has other water issues of concern, including an inadequate supply. We can not afford to take any risks to damage the supply that we have.  

Additionally, there is always fear that there will be rollbacks of these protections on the federal level. Illinois should set a higher bar and, even if the federal level eases their regulations, we should maintain the strongest protections possible for public health, water safety, and good air quality. 

Thank you, have a great day.

Albert’s remarks:

I am Albert Karvelis, a recently retired licensed professional engineer, DuPage
County resident, a US Navy veteran and have served as an Adjunct Professor of
Mechanical Engineering at NIU. I have worked in R&D the power generation field
and am a member of the faith community of the Joliet Catholic Diocese.

Providing clear and comprehensive rules to protect the public from the toxic
effects of CCR’s leached into groundwater or carried by wind, is certainly in
keeping with the EPA Mission of: ”… protecting the health of the citizens of
Illinois and its environment…”

CCR when exposed to water and/or wind has a high potential for compromising
the health of the public unless it is properly entombed. Properly entombed
means that ALL outer surfaces- top, bottom and all sides of the CCR pile are
sealed with an impermeable material.

Accordingly, any rule that allows simply covering only the top surface of an
existing CCR pile/pond with a plastic liner does not constitute a “closure” that will
protect quote “the health of the citizens of Illinois and its environment” un

The rules, in my opinion should cover all existing and future sites, impoundments,
storage facilities, dumps or landfills known or reasonably suspected to contain
CCR’s and be timetabled in such a timely manner so as to preclude abandonment,
leaving the poisons and cleanup for the next three generations.

In particular, exclusion of CCR’s deposited in landfills or dumps from the rules is
one giant loophole which must not be permitted.

As an engineering consultant on many industrial accident investigations I have too
often seen catastrophic failures of systems whose design, build and maintenance
processes have had more key input from accountants and lawyers than from
scientists and engineers. Science, the not the General Accounting Practices of the
CCR entities should guide the rulemaking.

I am here to speak on behalf of the public health and safety in asking you to write
rules that protect the public health and environment. In contrast, Industry will
speak to you on behalf of its profit needs. Who will YOU speak for, as you draft the rules?

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to voice my thoughts

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