On-line citizen group holding Chemtool accountable is rising | Native information
ROCKTON – The Citizens for Chemtool Accountability Facebook page keeps growing as people try to share information and come up with a plan to ensure Chemtool doesn’t shift its responsibilities onto the community after the fire is out.
The group started on Tuesday afternoon and had more than 900 followers on Wednesday afternoon.
“The administrators group, myself and others are trying to coordinate a face-to-face meeting next week and will invite everyone in the Facebook group to this meeting. It’s not planned yet, ”said Roscoe Township Trustee Co-Administrator Elizabeth Lindquist. “It is important that productive measures are taken from this point onwards.”
Billboards talked about the debris found in their garden, confusion about what to do with their gardens, feelings of insecurity, symptoms such as wheezing and headaches, and the lack of information from other local governments near Rockton. Other members have debated whether to push for the Old Settlers Days to be canceled or to focus more on Chemtool’s accountability.
Zach Olson, one of the site administrators, said he lived in Roscoe, about ten kilometers from the evacuated area, and that his brother and parents live in the evacuated area.
Olson said he did his own research and found articles on Chemtool. He learned of a fire in 2019 at a plant in France owned by the same company that owns Chemtool – Lubrizol.
According to a Reuters article, there was a massive chemical fire at Lubrizol in Rouen, France on September 26, 2019, which sparked days of protests and calls from politicians to publish a list of the burned products.
“When two plants burn, it looks like something unethical or unsafe is going on,” said Olson.
Some group members have referred to the Crystal Lake plant and the problems it poses.
According to a Daily Herald article published in 2009, the company was charged with disposing of sewage and chemicals that may have contaminated groundwater. McHenry County’s health authorities sued Chemtool. The suit followed inspections which revealed evidence of pollution such as full septic tanks and eroded soil.
Olson said he wanted to make sure the community comes together and has a place to share information and unite with a plan for how to proceed.
“What does the clean-up process look like and how are the costs covered? Will it be shared with the community or covered by Chemtool? I want them to come forward and enlighten us, ”said Olson.
Olson said members of the group were concerned about the long-term effects of the fire and the impact it would have on the Rock River.
Lindquist, who lives 7 miles away, said her main concern was that Lubrizol would be held accountable to the people affected and the environment.
“In the past, international corporations never took full responsibility for environmental disasters. As a local employer, Chemtool is important to the community, but Lubrizol and Chemtool exist to make profits for their shareholders and not care about the people of Rockton, ”said Lindquist. “I think there is a real need for a community to come together to ensure that after a disaster like this, a company like Lubrizol is fully accountable for everything that caused it,” said Lindquist.
A company statement on www.lubrizol.com stated that Lubrizol secured and activated US Fire Pump, a special third-party emergency team, to travel to Rockton to extinguish the fire, including using extinguishing foam to suppress the fire .
Salary and social benefits are continued for the employees.
The statement goes on to say: “We regret the impact on our neighbors and we also commit to support the community. We are working to find out how we can best support our neighbors who have been evacuated or have been affected. We have pledged support to the North Western Illinois Red Cross and the Northern Illinois Food Banks.
Finally, we continue to work with experts and government agencies on environmental monitoring of air and water. As we confirmed yesterday, the test results so far show no other health risk than the short-term irritation that would normally occur with smoke. Otherwise we do not expect any short-term or long-term health effects. “
The Daily News has reached out to Lubrizol and is awaiting further replies.