The letter sent to Mr. Bill Davies, Chairman of International Property Developers, appears below.
International Property Developers
875 North Michigan Ave
Chicago, Illinois 60611
Dear Mr. Davies:
I urge you to make every effort possible to improve the ventilation systems at your Old Post Office property and improve the air quality within Chicago Union Station.
The Chicago Tribune first reported in late 2010 about air quality issues in Chicago Union Station, and I am deeply troubled by what has been learned. The well-documented public health dangers of breathing high levels of diesel soot demand the immediate action of all involved to address this problem. As you know, air quality in Union Station is dependent on ventilation systems operated by private owners. When not properly maintained and operated, the resulting diesel exhaust build-up affects the millions of passengers who travel by rail through Chicago Union Station annually.
Amtrak and City of Chicago officials have identified the lack of operational ventilation exhaust fans at the Old Post office property that you own a significant factor contributing to the problem. The City of Chicago Building Department recently cited the property for code violations due to inoperable ventilation fans. Amtrak has filed suit to assure property-owner obligations with regard to ventilation are being fulfilled.
In the past year, both Metra and Amtrak have taken significant steps to reduce diesel emissions from their trains. Metra added high-efficiency air filters inside their train cars, switched to a cleaner-burning diesel fuel, and installed automatic shut-offs on train cars to reduce idle time. Amtrak has conducted a top-down assessment of air quality issues in Union Station and has implemented plans to upgrade their aging diesel engines. The progress these changes will make toward improving air quality, however, will be limited if all ventilation systems in the surrounding area are not made fully operational.
I stand ready to work with you to assure that all necessary measures are taken to improve air quality for passengers in Union Station.