Judge delays reopening of suburban Sterigenics plant

Sterigenics in suburban Willowbrook has been closed since February after the EPA found high levels of the toxic gas in the air, and it will stay closed for at least another month.

"Finally, the residents in the affected communities are going to get their voice in court, and I believe this judge will listen to them," said Gary Gross, Mayor of Burr Ridge. 

A DuPage County judge delayed the reopening of the medical sterilization plant and wants to hear from the public.

Sterigenics uses a known carcinogen, ethylene oxide, which is emitted into the air. After five months of being shut down, the company reached a deal with the Illinois Attorney General's office to reopen, once Sterigenics fixes the amount of gas it emits. 

"This consent order that was proposed is wrong and the law is wrong on the politics," said Deanne Mazzochi, State Representative, 47th District. "It does nothing to fundamentally protect the local residents the way in which the Matt Haller Act envisions. 

State lawmakers say the deal between the AG's office and Sterigenics doesn't follow the new legislation that would limit ethylene oxide emission by 99.9 percent. 

"What was said today was not consistent with what our intent was in the Committee, House of Representatives, or Senate floor," said Rep. Jim Durkin, House Republican Leader.  

The AG's office insists Stergenics can only reopen if they follow the new emission rules.

"People here have cancer, are survivors, have family members who have died of cancer," said Lauren Kaseberg, Stop Sterigenics. "We want to live, that's all we are asking. It's the most basic fundamental thing, we want to live." 

The municipalities involved have until Aug. 23 to file a brief, and then Sterigenics can respond. 

The company released a statement tonight, saying in part that they are confident they will reopen and will comply with the new state requirements.