Thursday, July 15, 2010

Clean Power Coalition Press Conference...

The Chicago Clean Power Coailtion held a press conference in Dvorak Park today to announce that the Sierra Club and Greenpeace have taken on the issue of cleaning up the Fisk and Crawford coal-fired power plants as a national campaign. The press conference also highlighted Alderman Solis and Munoz silence on the issue and PERRO's and LVEJO's community petition campaigns.

Here is the press release...

Local and National Environmental Groups Join Local Elected Officials to Call for Clean Power in Chicago

Activists, Leaders, and Community Members Gather to Announce Expansion of Coalition Efforts to Clean up Chicago’s Coal Plants

Chicago, IL: Nearly 50 local and national organizations joined by local community members and elected leaders kicked off a ward by ward effort today to pass the Chicago Clean Power Ordinance, which will clean up the Fisk and Crawford coal plants on Chicago’s southwest side. The plants are the largest source of air pollution in the city, which has one of the highest asthma rates in the country.

As smoke poured from the stacks of the Fisk plant across the street from the press conference to announce the effort, Sierra Club’s Executive Director Michael Brune said, “What we’re seeing here today is a local effort with potentially huge implications for our country. It is a real opportunity for Chicago and local officials to set the example—to stand up to dirty energy and demand a cleaner, healthier way of doing business. Change can start in Chicago.”

Chicago has the highest concentration of people living near coal plants in the nation, putting large segments of the population at risk for respiratory problems.

“All Chicagoans, especially those living in Pilsen and Little Village, deserve better than dirty power generation,” said Damon Moglen, Global Warming Campaign Director for Greenpeace, “Each year Fisk and Crawford belch out 5 million tons of CO2 and 180,000 tons of toxic soot that have rocketed Chicago’s asthma rates to the highest in the nation. It’s time for Chicago’s leaders to recognize that coal has no place in Chicago’s Climate Action Plan or our clean energy future.”

For years, local organizations such as Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO) and Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization (PERRO) have been champions for cleaning up the two power plants, Crawford and Fisk. The Chicago Clean Power Coalition was formed early this year, and support for the group has grown as more families living in the affected communities get sick of the coal plants’ pollution.

“Like many working-class communities of color around the country, Pilsen is inundated with multiple pollution sources, the worst of which is the Fisk plant,” said Jerry Mead-Lucero, member of PERRO (Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization), “Your race or class should not determine whether or not you have a healthy environment in which to live. That’s why PERRO hopes that Alderman Solis will demonstrate his concern for the health of the residents of the 25th Ward and become a co-sponsor of the Clean Power Ordinance.”

The groups are working to pass the Clean Power Ordinance introduced by Alderman Joe Moore in April. The ordinance will require the coal plant operators to reduce particulate matter pollution (soot) from the coal plants by 90% and global warming pollution (CO2) pollution by 50%, resulting in significant health benefits for neighboring communities and beyond. The ordinance currently has twelve cosponsors and the coalition has collected close to 1,000 signatures and letters from citizens asking their aldermen to support the ordinance.

The coalition asks the Chicago City Council and Mayor Daley not only to protect the health of its citizens, but also lead the country towards a clean energy future – much like the Chicago Climate Action Plan promises.

For more information, visit

For more pictures from the press conference, check out the following link...

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