Photo: Fisk and Crawford
Both of Chicago’s Coal Power Plants have been officially decommissioned. A Mayoral Task Force convened to discuss the reuse of the sites releases report highlighting common ground reached between community organizations, the City of Chicago and Midwest Generation. But community concerns over remediation are yet to be addressed.
For over ten years, thousands of Little Village and Pilsen residents have called on government officials and Midwest Generation to shut down the Fisk and Crawford plants. Community organizations in Pilsen and Little Village joined with environmental, health, faith, and labor groups to form the Clean Power Coalition, launching a groundbreaking grassroots campaign to make Chicago a coal-free city.
In the last year, thirty five aldermen and Mayor Rahm Emmanuel joined the cause. In February an agreement was reached between the community organizations, The City of Chicago and Midwest Generation to shut the plants down. The Mayor convened a Reuse Task Force on which both Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO) and Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization (PERRO) serve. That Task Force released a report today on its first phase of work.
Since the initial announcement in February that the Coal Plants would close soon, LVEJO and PERRO have been hosting community workshops gathering opinions and ideas from residents of the Little Village and Pilsen communities on the future of the sites. Such workshops have been hosted at local schools, organizations, and public libraries.
As LVEJO continue to talk to residents and answer any inquiries, they are excited by the release of the City’s Taskforce Report which highlights areas of agreement between the community organizations and the company. But citizens don’t want to be left with a legacy of soil contamination on the site or developers that might build something that would harm our community. In October PERRO will be releasing its own report on a vision for the Fisk site based on community input over the past 4 months.
The retirement of Fisk and Crawford will deliver substantial public health benefits. 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.