Thursday, September 22, 2011

Chicago Enviro Groups Want Controls on Coal Fired Plants

Fisk & Crawford Plants
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was presented with a petition on Wednesday that included more than 6,000 signatures urging support for a proposed ordinance that would control the emissions from two coal-fired power plants that spew tons of contaminants into the air in Latino neighborhoods. The effort is being spearheaded by the Chicago Clean Power Coalition

The environmentalists are demanding an ordinance directed at the Fisk and Crawford plants, located near the Latino neighborhoods of Little Village and Pilsen, respectively.  Both plants are owned by Midwest Generation. The coalition notes that Fisk, built in 1903, and Crawford, which dates from 1924, "are subject to more lenient federal pollution limits because of their age."

The environmentalists cite a 2001 Harvard University study which found that pollution from Fisk and Crawford could be responsible for 42 premature deaths, 66 heart attacks and at least 2,800 asthma crises annually.

Chicago's proposed Clean Power Ordinance has not been resolved despite months of discussions within the 50-member City Council. The measure recently was returned to the Council's agenda on the initiative of Aldermen Daniel Solis and Joe Moore, but no date has been set for a vote on it.

Kim Wasserman-Nieto, executive director of the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, demanded the mayor's intervention to "put this problem behind us once and for all."

The ordinance under study would obligate the plants to stop burning coal to generate electricity and to switch over to natural gas or stop operating.

It establishes that if an installation has a quarterly emissions average that exceeds the federal and state limits, it will be fined up to $10,000 and will have to suspend its operations until pollution controls are installed to ensure it complies with the standards. (Fox New Latino, 9/20/2011)

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