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Latino State News

Protesters Demand Changes to Air-Polluting Coal-Fired Power Plants

Pollution in Chicago’s Latino neighborhoods has gotten so bad, and residents have become so frustrated that protests have broken out.

Tuesday, 8 Greenpeace members climbed a 140-meter high smokestack at a coal-fired power plant in protest of the pollution in predominantly Latino neighborhoods.

Operated by Edison International, the Fisk and Crawford power plants were the targets of the protests, which began at dawn. The pollution from the two plants has effected the schools in the residential areas of the Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods.

Kelly Mitchell, one of the Greenpeace members that climbed the smokestack, said Greenpeace is demanding the closing of the plants “to clean the air and halt the effects of global warming.” She said that companies like Edison are poisoning communities with coal-fired plants.

Fisk has already been accused of polluting the air and contributing to the high levels of illness in the area. The illnesses range from bronchitis and asthma to the more severe lung cancer and heart attacks.

It is also estimated that the two plants contaminate the air as much as the carbon dioxide emissions form two-thirds of all transportation in the the entire city of Chicago.

Chicago reportedly has a higher concentration of people living near coal-fired power plants than anywhere else in the country.

Alderman Daniel Solis has sponsored a clean energy ordinance that has been discussed by the Chicago City Coucil, and that would require Fisk and Crawford’s plants to switch to natural gas instead of coal. It would also force other plants near Pilsen and Little Village to stricter emission controls.

If passed, the ordinance would require any plants whose quarterly emissions average is higher than federal and state limits, it must halt operations until the pollution output no longer exceeds those limits.