Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) and State Representative Deanne Mazzochi (R-Elmhurst) passed the Matt Haller Act out of the House Chamber today that will enact new restrictions on ethylene oxide emissions and facilities that use the chemical in production.
“I was proud to see Senate Bill 1852 pass the House Chamber today that will expand regulations and restrictions on ethylene oxide and shut down any facilities that are not in compliance with emissions standards,” Durkin said. “The tragic situation that unfolded at the Sterigenics facility last summer is proof that we must be proactive in ensuring the health and safety of our communities.”
Senate Bill 1852, known as the Matt Haller Act, will prohibit the renewal of any permits for facilities that violate federal or state standards for ethylene oxide emissions. The legislation will also prohibit new ethylene oxide medical sterilization facilities from opening within 10 miles of a school or park in counties with more than 50,000 residents and 15 miles in counties with less than 50,000 residents. Furthermore, it prohibits the use of ethylene oxide by any facility that has had egregious violations requiring a seal order.
“This bill would not be possible without the grassroots support of our communities surrounding Sterigenics. Their advocacy made this possible,” said Chief Co-sponsor Mazzochi. “I was glad to work with Leader Durkin and others to build this comprehensive piece of legislation that will help provide peace of mind for those who are near the facility as we finally move in a productive direction.”
Another component of the legislation is to require a public notice and notice to schools, hospitals and local government officials in the event of any elevated EtO emissions levels as well as annual ambient air testing at all EtO emitting facilities.
Matt Haller, a 45-year-old Willowbrook resident, passed away earlier this year from stage four stomach cancer. Haller lived about a mile from the Sterigenics plant with his family and was an outspoken proponent for the closure of the facility.