In another huge victory for public health, the people of Chicago will soon breathe easier. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Midwest Generation today announced the planned retirement of the Fisk and Crawford coal plants, two of the nation's oldest and dirtiest coal-fired power plants in the heart of Chicago's Southwest side. The closing of these plants brings the total number of plant closure commitments to 100 since January 2010.
With these coal plants retired, the families and residents of Chicago's Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods will no longer have to live with plant pollution that contributes to asthma, respiratory illnesses, and other health issues. Mayor Emanuel helped deliver this hard fought victory in collaboration with local residents, the Chicago Clean Power Coalition, and support from the Sierra Club.
The public health win also marks a great step forward in the effort to move America beyond coal. Last year, Mike Bloomberg announced a $50 million commitment from Bloomberg Philanthropies to the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign with the goal of combating coal pollution's dangerous health effects on children and families, and retiring one third of the nation's coal plants by 2020.
"Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the City of Chicago have taken a big step forward in building a healthier and environmentally sustainable city. Mayor Emanuel is a leader who understands the need for immediate steps to improve public health and make long-term investments in our urban infrastructures," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Today is also a great step forward for the Beyond Coal Campaign that has been working with Mayor Emanuel, residents, and local organizations. With today's development, Chicago joins the legion of cities across America who have committed to putting our country on a new energy path."