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VICE Takes on Chicago's Petcoke Problem

Josh Mogerman

Posted February 28, 2014 in Curbing Pollution

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If its not on your radar, Vice Magazine is has created an edgy $1.4 billion media empire. Beyond their print magazine and big social media footprint, they have an Emmy-nominated show on HBO right now and are expanding to try to bring similar content to the Web—essentially creating an online, YouTube-based daily news show for younger, socially-engaged audiences. They will be rolling this out in the coming week

Amidst hard-hitting stories of ongoing unrest in Afghanistan, Mexican drug traffickers and Lebanese arms dealers…is Chicago.

Not the stories that the media often uses to give our city a black eye…but some literally black stuff: the massive mounds of dirty oil refining waste heaped along the Calumet River in the middle of neighborhoods in the City’s Southeast Side. The excellent 12-minute piece gives a really powerful perspective on what the impact of oil industry’s embrace of ultra-heavy Canadian tar sands oil, and all the pollution associated with it, means in Chicago. It is ugly and informative. And worth a spin (embedded below, but very worth viewing at full size by clicking the YouTube button):

It is great to see the amazing results that the advocates in the video have already achieved. They have forced attention and action from every level of government: city, state and federal. But as the video makes clear, there is still a lot to be done and we will continue working with folks in the Southeast Side who want to be rid of this pollution blight looming over their homes, parks and schools. High profile attention of this sort places this issue in the global context it deserves--the problems we see here, are not unique. And sadly, will be even less so in the future if we don't pay close attention.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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