Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Contact Claire Orphan: 312.251.1680 x146
Sierra Club Launches Massive Ad Campaign to Move Chicago Beyond Coal
Campaign Calls on Mayor Emanuel to Protect Chicago Families from Coal Pollution and Asthma
Chicago – Today, Sierra Club launched an ad campaign to raise public awareness about the health risks of Chicago’s Fisk and Crawford coal-fired power plants. Ads in 100 CTA trains, newspapers, and a billboard all feature 6-year-old Peter Wasserman, who lives next to the Crawford coal plant in Little Village and is afflicted with asthma. The Sierra Club and local health and community groups have been calling on Mayor Emanuel to protect kids like Peter from asthma attacks and other health problems caused by Chicago’s polluting, outdated coal plants.
“It is time that the entire city became aware of the damage these plants are doing to the children on the Southwest side,” said Christine Nannicelli, Beyond Coal Organizer for the Sierra Club. “One in four Chicagoans live within a three-mile radius of these smokestacks. More people live near the polluting Fisk and Crawford plants than any other coal plants in the country.”
Chicago is the only major metropolitan area with not only one, but two polluting coal plants within the city limits. The Fisk and Crawford plants are located in the Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods.
“The coal burned in these plants is brought in from Wyoming. The power is sold out of state, and the profits go to a California-based company. The only thing Chicagoans are getting from these plants is asthma attacks,” said Nannicelli.
Like Peter, children living in the proximity of these plants suffer from alarming asthma rates. Nationally, 1 in 10 children have asthma. According to the Clean Air Task Force Study in 2010, pollution from Midwest Generation’s Fisk and Crawford plants leads to roughly 42 premature deaths, 66 heart attacks and 720 asthma attacks each year. [i]
Peter’s mother, Kimberly Wasserman, has three children, two of whom suffer from asthma. “My son’s asthma represents the struggle of an entire community. For over a decade, people in Chicago have been standing up to Midwest Generation and fighting for clean air and healthy communities. We want to make sure this issue gets the attention it deserves.”
Sierra Club, LVEJO, and other groups are calling on Mayor Emanuel to take steps to end pollution from the Fisk and Crawford plants. Emanuel has publicly criticized the coal plants in the past.
The Sierra Club is working with other groups in Chicago to stand up to Midwest Generation and fight for clean air and healthy communities. This strong group of community, health, and environmental leaders now has the opportunity to ask Mayor Emanuel to support Chicagoans and their families in their efforts to move Chicago beyond coal.
“We are counting on Mayor Emanuel to continue to stand up to these corporate polluters and protect Chicago’s families,” said Jack Darin, Sierra Club Illinois Chapter Director. “Mayor Emanuel has a chance now to demonstrate courageous leadership by moving our city away from outdated, polluting coal plants and towards cleaner and safer energy sources.”
Chicago is a key target for Sierra Club’s national Beyond Coal campaign, aimed at replacing dirty, polluting coal-fired power plants with clean energy like wind and solar power. The campaign has stopped more than 150 coal plants from breaking ground, and is nearing retirement of 100 coal plants.
[i] Conrad Schneider and Jonathan Banks, Clean Air Task Force, “The Toll from Coal: An updated assessment of Death and Disease from America’s Dirtiest Energy Source”, Boston, MA, September, 2010 (http://www.catf.us/coal/problems/power_plants/existing/)