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Scrapbook: Club and Allies Ramp Up Pressure to Retire Aging Chicago Coal Plants

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Sierra Club Scrapbook

February 28, 2012

Club and Allies Ramp Up Pressure to Retire Aging Chicago Coal Plants


The Sierra Club and the Chicago Clean Power Coalition teamed up to organize rallies and press conferences in Chicago on February 15 and 21, ramping up the pressure on Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Midwest Generation to retire the aging Fisk and Crawford coal-fired power plants.

That's Sierra Club activist Abby Toms, above at left with fellow members of the Chicago Youth Climate Coalition at the February 21 rally. Below left, a Chicago mother for clean air; at right, Chicago Sierra Club volunteer leader Tony Fuller. The "I am one of the 42" t-shirts refer to the 42 Chicagoans whom studies show die prematurely each year due to pollution from the Fisk and Crawford plants.


The Sierra Club's Chicago Group, Illinois Chapter, and Beyond Coal Campaign have been working in coalition with local allies to educate the public about the health risks of coal-fired power plants and retire the Fisk and Crawford facilities. Chicago is the only U.S. city to have two coal plants within its borders, and one in four Chicagoans live within three miles of the plants' smokestacks.


More than 100 coalition activists descended on a Chicago City Council meeting on February 15, calling on the Mayor to "finish the job he started." Below, Sierra Club member Cliff Zimmerman at the rally.


"By making this campaign the hottest environmental issue in Chicago we've been able to gain 'linchpin' Alderman Danny Solis as a key champion, a veto-proof majority for the Clean Power Ordinance, and a campaign promise from Mayor Emanuel to solve this problem," says Sierra Club organizer Christine Nannicelli.


Alderman Solis introduced the Clean Power Coalition at the City Council meeting, garnering applause from the rest of the Council, and hosted a follow-up press conference on February 21 with Coalition partner SEIU Doctors Council, which called for the closure of the plants and safe redevelopment of the sites. That's Alderman Solis above at mic. Below, representatives of the Doctors Council and the Clean Power Coalition at the press conference.


"Through the numerous City Hall actions this past year we've held Mayor Emanuel accountable to his promise, and he has laid down the final gauntlet for Midwest Generation," says Nannicelli.


"These two recent rallies and press conferences are the result of great volunteer leadership within the Clean Power Coalition and the Sierra Club,"Nannicelli says, "and they're going to be critical to insuring that we get this campaign across the finish line."


All photos by Betsy Neely (black & white) and Pam Richart (color), courtesy of Eco-Justice Collaborative.


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