Ventura raises concerns over proposed heavy crude oil pipeline and barge loading terminal over Des Plaines River

State Senator Rachel Ventura along with Will County Board Member Destinee Ortiz have raised concerns about a zoning map amendment and five variances for a proposed heavy crude oil pipeline and barge terminal currently being considered by the Will County Board.

“We have the largest inland port in the state,” said Ventura (D-Joliet). “If there was an oil spill, we’d have to shut down the locks to drain it out. It would be devastating for our local economy.”

The Will County Board is taking up a proposal on Wednesday that would allow Ducere to open an oil pipeline terminal next to the Lockport Prairie Nature Preserve. If approved, the port would see oil exporters from Canada ship their cargo through Illinois to other states.

There has been a history of oil spills in Romeoville and in 2010, the Will County State’s Attorney was forced to sue Enbridge — the pipeline company where Ducere will get their oil from — for cleanup costs associated with the Romeoville oil spill that devastated the community.

“Expanding pollution projects in this area is counterproductive to the state’s goals,” said Ventura. “Bringing crude oil onto an Illinois waterway just to get to another state puts all Illinoisans at risk.”

The Ducere project is a barge petroleum-loading terminal over the Des Plaines River that will allow oil from Enbridge to split off before CITGO’s local refinery and send to Louisiana where companies like Shell use cheaper labor and do not pay union wages.

The map amendment will come before the full board for a vote on Wednesday, July 19 at 9 a.m. at the Will County Office Building in Joliet. Ventura and Ortiz are encouraging residents to contact their board members before the meeting to urge them to vote no on this proposal.

Ventura and Ortiz spoke with WJOL on Monday to call for a public hearing on the issue before a vote is considered which you can listen here.

Destinee Ortiz (D-Romeoville) is a Will County Board Member who represents District 9 and a climate activist with three young children. In addition to opposing this pipeline terminal, Ortiz has been very engaged in local coal ash cleanup initiatives and other environmental issues. To contact Destinee Ortiz: [email protected].