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July 13, 2012

Hundreds Rally Against New Chicago Coal Plant

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On Tuesday hundreds of Chicagoans rallied against a coal gasification plant proposed for the city’s southeast side. These residents are against this planned facility because of the pollution it would bring – not to mention what a poor plan it is to build another dirty coal facility after the city just announced the closure of Chicago's two ancient Fisk and Crawford coal plants.

Currently, legislation is sitting on Illinois Governor Pat Quinn's desk that would force the state natural gas utilities into 30 year contracts to pay for the construction and output of the Leucadia's coal gasification plant. We are urging the governor to veto this boondoggle of a bill.

The Leucadia plant is proposed for the Southeast side of Chicago, a community that was once home to steel mills and now has incredibly high pollution and unemployment rates. Tuesday’s rally was organized by the Environmental Justice Alliance of Greater Southeast Chicago. Sierra Club has been working over the past few of years with the incredible community leaders on the Southeast side to fight this plant, and after yesterday's great event we're one step closer to victory.

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Amazing leaders from the southeast Chicago community led the rally, leading cheers including, "Governor Quinn, here's a solution: Bring us jobs that don't bring pollution!"

Speaker after speaker rallied the crowd, including one young man who really wowed everyone. "Today is my 16th birthday and there is nowhere else I would rather spend it that standing up with you all to defend our community,” said Gustavo Mota.

Cheryl Johnson, daughter of Hazel Johnson, the "mother of Environmental Justice,” spoke to the crowd as well and had the line of the day: "What goes up must come down! Pollution - it don't go to heaven!"

During the rally, Governor Quinn's chief of staff came down to publicly receive the more than 11,000 petitions collected from residents and ratepayers across Illinois asking the Governor to say no to the Leucadia coal plant.

Even both of Chicago’s newspapers editorialized against the proposed plant, saying the Governor should veto it.

Chicago can do better than dirty coal. Let’s really support these communities by vetoing new coal plants and instead choosing clean energy that will create jobs and will not harm public health.

-- Mary Anne Hitt, Director of the Beyond Coal Campaign

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