Moving Chicago Beyond Coal

by Edyta Sitko

April 19, 2011

Tucked just behind the Chicago skyline, in the historic neighborhoods of Little Village and Pilsen, leer the smokestacks of the Fisk and Crawford coal plants. For almost a century, these stacks, owned by Midwest Generation, have spewed out soot, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, mercury, lead, and climate-change fueling CO2. Chicago now has one of the highest asthma rates in the country, and in neighborhoods surrounding the plants, asthma rates are as high as 44%. Elementary school children play in Dvorak Park across the street from the Fisk coal plant, and anyone driving down highway 55 in the city will see smokestacks bellowing out pollution day in and day out.

A decade ago, community groups in Little Village and Pilsen started fighting back and demanding a better future for their children. On October 24, 2009, the community groups and Greenpeace marched 500 strong, down to the Fisk coal plant, demanding it to shut down. And on April 13, 2010, Ald. Joe Moore introduced the Clean Power Ordinance that would drastically reduce soot and CO2 emissions from both plants – possibly setting an important precedent for individual cities’ role in holding polluters accountable.

This Thursday, April 21st is another important day. After over a year of delay, the Clean Power Ordinance will get its day in court. City Council will hear arguments from public health and climate experts, and local residents, as well industry lawyers and spokespeople. The Clean Power Ordinance is an important step in quitting coal in Chicago, and we know that coal companies like Midwest Generation will fight tooth and nail to protect their record profits.

Greenpeace is calling on City Council and Mayor Daley to pass the Clean Power Ordinance and ensure that Midwest Generation is held accountable for their toxic pollution. It is the least our representatives can do to protect public health and ensure a livable future for the people of Chicago.

That’s why we need you (and everyone you know) to call Mayor Daley’s office today and tell him to support the Clean Power Ordinance.  Everything you need to make your call is below.

Step 1) Dial (312) 744-3300 to get the Mayors Office. The receptionist will be there from 9 am to 5 pm. To leave a voicemail after business hours call 311.  

Step 2) When the office answers the phone, tell the receptionist that you would like to leave a message for the Mayor.

Step 3) Leave your message. Here’s a sample:

Hi my name is ____________ and I am calling to ask Mayor Daley to support the Chicago Clean Power Ordinance. Fisk and Crawford are the two largest stationary sources of air pollution in Chicago. These old, dirty coal-burning plants stand in Chicago’s way of becoming the greenest, healthiest city in America. Thank you!

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