Over 5,000 Chicagoans Ask Mayor Emanuel to Stop Coal Pollution in Chicago

Over 5,000 ask Mayor Emanuel to stop coal pollution in Chicago
Supporters create human billboard to protect Public Health

This morning (Tuesday, September 20, 2011), nearly one hundred supporters of the Chicago Clean Power Coalition hand delivered a petition with over 5,000 signatures to the Mayor’s office asking him to pass the Clean Power Ordinance and protect Chicago’s communities from the dangerous pollution produced by Midwest Generations coal-fired power plants on the Southwest side. Residents and concerned Chicagoans formed a human billboard outside of City Hall asking Mayor Emanuel to hold these corporate polluters accountable and protect the public health of Chicago residents.

“The Fisk and Crawford coal plants in the Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods are making Chicagoans sick and fueling climate change,” said Maria Torres, Organizer for the Pilsen Alliance. “The power from these plants is sold out of state, the profits go to California-based Edison, while families in Chicago get stuck with the pollution, the hospital bills, and the costs of an increasingly unstable climate.”

The Clean Power Coalition has been working to pass the Clean Power ordinance, which would drastically reduce pollution from the Fisk and Crawford coal plants, is backed by a citywide grassroots coalition of over 60 community, health, labor and environmental groups.

Aldermen Danny Solis (20th Ward) and Joe Moore (49th Ward) announced in July that 31 City Council members had signed on as co-sponsors of the Chicago Clean Power ordinance. With a requirement of 26 votes for this ordinance to become law, Chicago is poised to take the next step in protecting Chicago residents from these plants.

During the re-introduction of the ordinance, Mayor Rahm Emanuel indicated strong support for the goals of the ordinance, stating that ““We are paying a health care cost as a city because of the plants,” he said. “I want them as a company to be a responsible citizen to the people of the city of Chicago.”

“These plants are threatening the health of our communities and it is past time that the Mayor step in,” said Kim Wasserman-Nieto, Executive Director of Little Village Environmental Justice Organization. “As a mother, I want my children to worry about remembering to pack their lunches every day, not their inhalers.”

The Fisk and Crawford plants are owned by Midwest Generation, a subsidiary of the California-based Edison International. Researchers from the Clean Air Task Force found that pollution from Fisk and Crawford causes 42 premature deaths, 66 heart attacks and 720 asthma attacks each year. One in four Chicagoans live within a three-mile radius of the smokestacks.

“For over a decade, people in Chicago have been standing up to Midwest Generation and fighting for clean air and healthy communities,” said Rose Gomez, Sierra Club Lead Volunteer. “ Our mayor now has the opportunity to support Chicagoans and our families and hold them accountable for the toll that these plants have taken on the health of our children.”

The Chicago Clean Power Coalition, a grassroots campaign with no full-time paid staff, has gained public and aldermanic support by relying on recent scientific research on the health damage caused by coal plant pollution and the personal experience of residents who live near the plants.

Kim Wasserman, Coordinator, LVEJO
9-20 Petition Delivery to Mayor Emanuel

Visit http://cleanpowerchicago.org to learn more about the campaign for clean power in Chicago.

Eco-Justice Collaborative is a founding member of the Chicago Clean Power Coalition

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