Local Groups Urge Mayor Emanuel to Regulate Fisk, Crawford Plant

By: Ashmar Mandou

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News NAACP held a press conference Tuesday at the Crowne Plaza Metro Hotel to discuss further action on how to regulate toxic coal plants. The coalition called for Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the new City Council to adjust local power plants that top the list of worst environmental justice offenders in a new NAACP report.

The NAACP report, “Coal Blooded: Putting Profits over People,” identifies Chicago’s Crawford Generating Station and Fisk Generating Station as two of the nation’s worst-performing coal plants and having a disproportionate impact on poor Chicago communities. The Chicago Clean Power Ordinance would require the plants to convert to safer energy production methods or shut down. The NAACP is partnering with the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO) and the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) to support passage of the ordinance and push stronger regulation of coal plants. “The 600,000 Chicago residents living within three miles of Fisk or Crawford are suffering undeservedly,” stated Rose Joshua, president of the NAACP Chicago South Side unit. “The City Council’s decision to postpone a vote on the Clean Power Ordinance was a deflection of responsibility that Chicago’s new government cannot afford to repeat. Mayor Emanuel should pass the Clean Power Ordinance and clear the air for his constituents.”

“Our report finds that coal power plants are disproportionately located in low-income communities and communities of color, and Chicago provides some of the most egregious examples,” stated Jacqueline Patterson, NAACP’s director of Climate Justice Programs. “Fisk and Crawford cast dark shadows over some of the most diverse neighborhoods in the city, and some of the poorest.” Proximity to coal emissions can lead to a variety of respiratory diseases, including asthma and bronchitis, and can lead to premature death. Over 600,000 people live within three miles of Fisk or Crawford, and sixteen K-12 schools are located within one mile of the plants. The average income within three miles of Crawford is $11,097, and 83.9 percent of that population is composed of people of color. In the three miles surrounding Fisk, the average income is $15,065, and people of color make up 83.1 percent of the population.

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