Lake Michigan. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Representatives of Bayer, which now owns Monsanto, said Chicago's lawsuit was “meritless” because the company never manufactured or disposed PCBs in or near the Chicago area.

Olga Bautista, the executive director of the Southeast Environmental Task Force, lauded Mayor Brandon Johnson's proposal. (Heather Cherone/WTTW News)

“The time to act on environmental justice is now,”  Mayor Brandon Johnson said.

FILE - A black plume rises over East Palestine, Ohio, as a result of a controlled detonation of a portion of the derailed Norfolk Southern trains, Feb. 6, 2023. (Gene J. Puskar / AP Photo, File)

Debate over vinyl chloride has simmered for years, but gained a new urgency after the Feb. 3 derailment of a 50-car Norfolk Southern freight train in East Palestine. Three days later, emergency crews released toxic vinyl chloride from five tank cars and burned it to keep them from exploding.

State Sen. Bill Cunningham, D-Chicago, speaks to members of the Illinois Pollution Control Board at the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules meeting on July 18, 2023. Cunningham is the co-chair of the bipartisan 12-member committee. (Andrew Adams / Capitol News Illinois)

The change repeals existing language that allowed factories, refineries, power plants and other facilities to exceed their emission limits during shutdowns, startups, and malfunctions.

Illinois Environmental Protection Agency building. (Capitol News Illinois file photo)

At issue is a policy Illinois has had since the 1970s that allows factories, power plants, and other industries with air pollution emission permits to exceed their emission limits during startups, shutdowns, or malfunctions.

(WTTW News)

“The goal here is for us to think about how the cumulative impact data can help change policy and operations across city departments,” said Angela Tovar, Chicago’s chief sustainability officer.

A smoky haze settles over Chicago due to Canadian wildfires on June 27, 2023. (WTTW News)

According to data from the Illinois EPA, Chicago’s Air Quality Index was at a 185 as of Thursday morning, placing it in the “unhealthy” range. That means older adults, people with heart or lung disease and children and teens should avoid strenuous outdoor activities.

A decommissioned generating station in Waukegan is pictured in a file photo. (WTTW News)

Right now, coal combustion residuals – commonly known as coal ash – aren’t subject to EPA regulation at many offline power plants. 

A smoky haze settles over Chicago due to Canadian wildfires on June 27, 2023. (Paris Schutz / WTTW News)

Air quality hit unhealthy levels, with the Department of Public Health encouraging people to limit their time outdoors and avoid strenuous activities.

(WTTW News)

The impact of climate change is being felt across the planet in ways large and small. But it is increasingly clear that the impact of climate change is not felt equally.

New York City's skyline, shrouded in smoke on June 7, 2023. (Environmental Protection Agency)

With large swaths of the U.S. shrouded in smoke from Canadian wildfires, now's a good time to review the basics of the Environmental Protection Agency's Air Quality Index.

Activists protest plans for a metal scrapper on Chicago's Southeast Side at City Hall on Tuesday, June 6, 2023. (Heather Cherone/WTTW News)

Leaders of Chicago's environmental justice movement are confident Mayor Brandon Johnson has their backs – and they won’t have to fight City Hall as well as the businesses that they blame causing high rates of cancer, heart disease, respiratory ailments and asthma by polluting the air they breathe.

An aerial shot of the newly constructed Southside Recycling, 11600 S. Burley Ave. (Courtesy of Reserve Management Group)
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A judge’s ruling could force Chicago officials to issue the final permit sought by the parent company of General Iron to operate a metal shredding and recycling operation on Chicago’s Southeast Side.

(WTTW News)

A dense green tree canopy can reduce the effects of air pollution and climate change. A 2019 study by the city found Little Village was among communities burdened by higher air pollution — and now, the neighborhood is planting the seeds for change.

Trashion Revolution will feature designs made from plastic pollution, like the two pictured above. "I am just blown away by the designs," said Jordan Parker. Photos provided by the designers. (Alan Emerson Hicks, left / Jess Crane, right)

The tax was supposed to discourage the use of plastic bags. Instead, it’s turned into a cash cow for the city. Activists say it’s time to rethink the policy.

The BP Whiting refinery in East Chicago, Ind., stands on Sept. 21, 2017. (DroneBase via AP, File)

The 134-year-old refinery, located between Hammond, Indiana, and Chicago, is the biggest in the U.S. Midwest and sixth largest nationally. It processes about 440,000 barrels of crude oil daily, making a variety of liquid fuels and asphalt.