Residents Resisting CN Expansion Project in Indiana

Residents of East Chicago, Indiana, are protesting a move by Canadian National to expand its facilities in that city.

CN wants more room to store freight cars used by local shippers.

But residents of the Chicago suburb contend that CN will use the additional capacity to store tank cars filled with petroleum coke, a refining byproduct that can be used as fuel.

East Chicago officials say CN will store the petroleum coke in their city until it is ready to be moved for export overseas.

The petroleum coke will come from a BF refinery in nearby Whiting, Indiana.

CN needs approval from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management because the railroad plans to fill in wetlands regulated by the state in order to increase track capacity.

“Petcoke is a product that is being chased out of every other community, and they’ve all found their power to stand up,” said Thomas Frank, an East Chicago resident and member of the Southeast Side Coalition to Ban Petcoke.

“What this shows is that there is still a vacuum of power here with these big polluters.”

The area where CN wants to expand is located near a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Superfund site that is contaminated with lead and arsenic from industrial activity.

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