javascript:; New Year May Bring Broader Ban Authority for Chicagoland Local Governments and Beyond | Coal Tar Free America

A few years ago, Boone, North Carolina seemed poised to pass the first ban of coal tar sealers in that state and the first in the southeastern part of the US.  Not only did the community experience a significant fish kill in one of their streams due to the runoff from a freshly applied coal tar sealed lot, but the effects were caught on a compelling video.

Local  environmentalists were outraged, citizens mobilized, and then the lawyers for the Town said Boone didn't have state constitutional authority to ban this.  So instead of a ban, severe restrictions were put on the use of coal tar pavement sealers.

About that same time, a similar understanding was derived by a governmental lawyer in McHenry County, Illinois where the USGS had found high concentrations of chemicals from coal tar sealants in one of the communities, Lake in the Hills.  Seems the lawyer found a lack of constitutional authority to pass a ban there too if they wanted to have a county-wide effort.

Until now.

With the human health effects much better understood today, the McHenry County's State's Attorney has determined "coal tar sealant may be regulated by the County pursuant to its public health related powers granted by the County Code."

Quote of McHenry County State's Attorney from County Board Member Carolyn Schofield's presentation

This previous obstacle was the subject of a failed effort in the Illinois Legislature in 2012 and was covered on this site in this article (Illinois Initiates Initiative to Allow Local Sealant Bans). While over 200 Illinois communities already have this authority under Home Rule Authority*, this appeared to be a barrier for many communities including McHenry County. While there are home rule communities within McHenry County (e.g., Crystal Lake, Lake in the Hills, and McHenry), the apparent sentiment is to try to pass one ban for the entire county. This appears be the case within DuPage County as well.

How or will communities tap into this potential avenue to reduce the use of this toxic product? It will be interesting to watch.

* Home Rule Authority is generally defined as the power of local governments to act autonomously.

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Anonymous said... January 23, 2014 at 10:13 PM

Not sure why people would keep adding to the problem, by continuing to apply toxic coal tar sealants? I was surfing , I see companies popping up that are removing the existing coal tar sealer to get a clean bill of health prior to selling properties. Coal tar removal services might be a great business.