“Lesson in Good Government” Leads Suburban Chicago Community to Ban Coal Tar Sealers

Village of Wilmette listens & rejects industry arguments

While it appears that over 25 million Americans watched the President’s address to Congress last night, there was also good TV to be seen in the livestream of the Village of Wilmette Council meeting.

Several high school students were on hand to witness portions of what the Village President, Bob Bielinski, called a “lesson in good government.”

He went on to explain the deliberate process the ban went through. It included a Commission with well-heeled technical experts who prepared a summary recommendation over several months.  Also, the League of Women Voters of Wilmette was present and had their members fully engaged. In addition the Village received hundreds of supportive comments from residents seeking a ban.

And the coal tar industry was well represented by members from North Carolina, Pittsburgh, and Virginia. They even said that the Village of Wilmette was “far more receptive” to at least hearing their message than others have been. They were given more than a traditional 3 minutes and were able to make their case.

And the Village President with mouse and iPad in hand showed he had done his homework. Specifically he tracked down one of the claims by industry where they said that Environnment
 Canada found that coal tar sealers didn’t really present any risks. However the President Bielinski pointed out that they neglected to include the VERY next sentence from the report which read:

“The MOE [risks] associated with ingestion of house dust by children is considered potentially inadequate to protect these susceptible subpopulations.”

And the end of this lesson in good government? A unanimous ban of coal tar sealers. Well done Wilmette.

Photo Credit: Wilmette’s Baha’i House of Worship by Adib Roy