Aldermen refile bill that would clean up Fisk and Crawford power plants

Posted: 7/28/2011

From Chicago Business:

An ordinance that would require the city's two remaining coal-fired power plants to clean up — or maybe close — has been reintroduced in the City Council. And this time, it looks like it has the support to pass.

Aldermen Joe Moore (49th) and Danny Solis (25th) introduced the bill at Thursday's City Council meeting and say they have 31 co-sponsors, including themselves.

Only 26 votes are needed for passage.

The bill, which the two said is identical to a proposal originally introduced a little over a year ago, is aimed directly at the Fisk and Crawford power plants on the Southwest Side, both owned and operated by the Midwest Generation unit of California-based Edison International.

"The coal burned at these plants is mined in Wyoming. The power is sold out of state. The profits go to a California company, and we in Chicago are left with one thing: the pollution," said Mr. Moore, contending that the plants have pumped more than 10,000 tons of sulfur dioxide, 2,500 tons of nitrogen oxide and 4.6 million tons of carbon dioxide into the air since the proposal originally was introduced.

"There is no doubt that these coal power plants need to be cleaned up immediately," said Mr. Solis, who didn't initially back the proposal but endorsed it after it gained political legs.

During his campaign, Mayor Rahm Emanuel replied on an Environmental Law and Policy Center questionnaire that Midwest Generation "must clean up these two plants." But he has not, to my knowledge, specifically endorsed this bill.

Midwest Generation did not immediately have a response, but in the past has suggested that it might shut the plants rather than spend to retrofit them with pollution controls.

Meanwhile, in a related matter, a civic group from Mr. Solis' Pilsen ward said it has persuaded the alderman to strengthen his proposal on limiting lead emissions at the two plants and elsewhere.

"We are glad that Solis responded to our concerns and added stronger regulations,"  the Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization said in a statement. "But this ordinance could be much better if the alderman would agree to meet with (the group)."

Original here.