Historic moment for people of Chicago

by Kelly Mitchell

February 29, 2012

Polluting Coal Plants Shut Down Through Community Activism

We have written a lot about the grassroots campaign to close the Fisk and Crawford coal plants in Chicago. These are some of the oldest and dirtiest coal plants in the country, owned by California-based Edison International.

For a decade, citizen activists have been standing up to Edison International and calling for the plants to close. View a timeline of this work. Today, the campaign reached a historic victory – the Fisk coal plant in Pilsen will shut down in 2012 and the Crawford coal plant in Little Village will shut down by 2014.

Lets all take a deep (and soon to be cleaner) breath. The people won. When communities come together and confront corporate power, we can achieve incredible things.

This is a historic victory for the people of Chicago, who have demonstrated that grassroots activism is more powerful than the special interests of corporate polluters.

The Fisk and Crawford coal plants have loomed over the City of Chicago for a hundred years, fueling climate change and exposing families to dangerous levels of soot, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxide. After a groundbreaking ten-year grassroots campaign to shut down these archaic plants, Chicagoans have reclaimed their right to clean air.

Greenpeace is proud to have worked alongside the Clean Power Coalition to hold Edison International accountable for operating some of the oldest and dirtiest coal plants in the country. This campaign was rooted in the hard work and persistence of community activists throughout Chicago. Whether Greenpeace was gathering signatures or marching in the streets, we did so in solidarity with those living in the shadow of Fisk and Crawford.

We hope other communities across the country will find new inspiration today to stand up for their right to clean air and a safe climate.

By agreeing to close these plants, Edison International took an important step toward living up to its own rhetoric of clean energy leadership. As Edison executives consider the fate of their entire coal fleet, we hope they will consider the health and well being of communities throughout Illinois and Pennsylvania.

Learn more and get involved at Quitcoal.org

Kelly Mitchell

By Kelly Mitchell

Kelly Mitchell is the Climate and Energy Campaign Director for Greenpeace, based in Chicago. Since 2006, she has worked with activists and organizations across the country to confront corporate polluters and transform U.S. energy policy. She currently leads Greenpeace's campaign for an economy powered by 100 percent renewable energy, pushing some of the largest companies in the world to embrace wind and solar and working alongside communities to develop a just and democratic energy system.

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