A committee hearing on the Chicago Clean Power Ordinance drew hundreds of supporters to City Hall today. Congressman Bobby Rush, Chicago Medical Society President David Loiterman, and representatives from labor, health, community and environmental groups testified in support of the Ordinance at a packed hearing before the City’s Health and Energy, Environment and Public Works Committees. With Council Chambers over capacity, over 100 activists waited for hours in the lobby for their chance to testify in support of the ordinance that would the reduce the dangerous pollution the Fisk and Crawford coal plants in Chicago.
“Hundreds of people came out today to support the Clean Power Ordinance, and even more will come out for the next hearing,” said Alderman Joe Moore. “The people of Chicago won’t stop until the City steps up to protect their health and well being.”
Committee chairs Virginia Rugai (19th) and James Balcer (11th) did not call a vote at today’s hearing, saying that the issue requires more scrutiny and investigation, even though the Ordinance was introduced more than a year ago and a majority of City Council members have signed on as cosponsors. It is now likely that Clean Power Ordinance will be decided under Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the next City Council. Before being elected, Emanuel stated his support for reducing pollution from the Fisk and Crawford coal plants: “Midwest Generation must clean up these two plants, either by installing the necessary infrastructure to dramatically reduce the pollution they emit, or by converting to natural gas or another clean fuel. I will work closely with State and Federal regulators and the City Council to make sure it happens.”
Today’s hearing is the latest step in a growing citywide campaign to pass the Clean Power Ordinance. In 12 months, the Chicago Clean Power Ordinance has gained the backing of 26 Aldermen and 56 labor, health, community and environmental organizations and thousands of advocates. Pilsen Alderman Danny Solis confirmed his support for the Clean Power Ordinance today. “Regardless of the outcome of today’s hearing, I will continue to fight for a cleaner, safer environment for our neighborhoods,” said Solis.
“This ordinance is moving forward because the people of Chicago demand cleaner air,” Said Faith Bugel, Senior Attorney for the Environmental Law & Policy Center. “Despite all the money and clout that’s been spent to oppose it, the Clean Power Ordinance is moving forward because it’s the right thing to do.”
“There are so many people whose health is being impacted by living in close proximity to the two ancient coal plants that are on the Southside,” Said Bruce Nilles, Sierra Club Deputy Director of Conservation. “Chicago is one of the last communities with coal fired power plants in densely populated areas. Midwest Generation can no longer trade their profits for the health and well being of the people in Chicago.”
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The Chicago Clean Power Ordinance is supported by: 8th Day Center for Justice * 49th Ward Green Corps * Action Now * Aerotecture International Inc. * American Renewable Energy & Power, LLC * American Medical Student Association-UIC * Blacks in Green * Buddhist Peace Fellowship * CAPOW! Citizens Act to Protect Our Water * Chicago Youth Climate Coalition * Citizen Action / Illinois * Citizens Committee for a Clean Blue Island * Collective Consciousness Movement * Consolidated Printing * David Weiner & Associates * Design Makes Change * Doctors Council SEIU * Eco-Justice Collaborative * Energy Action Coalition * Environment Illinois * Environmental Law & Policy Center * Faith in Place * Gaia Movement USA * Green Guy Solutions * Green Sanctuary Group, Beverly Unitarian Church * Greenpeace * Growing Station Community Garden * KenJiva Energy Systems * Illinois Solar Energy Association * Illinois Student Environmental Coalition * Little Village Env. Justice Organization * Loyola University, Student Env. Alliance * Natural Resources Defense Council * Nuclear Energy Information Service * Oikos: The Religion and Environment Initiative * Peace Productions * Physicians for Social Responsibility * Pilsen Env. Rights & Reform Organization * Progressive Democrats of America * Protestants for the Common Good * Rainforest Action Network Chicago * Ravenswood Community Council * Resource Center*Respiratory Health Assoc. of Metro. Chicago* SAIC Student Env. Activism Group * Students for a Just & Stable Future * Southeast Environmental Task Force * Sierra Club * SolAir Works, Inc. * Team 15 United * Topless America * Union of Concerned Scientists * UIC College of Medicine, Community Action Program * Urban Sustain * Wellington Avenue UCC * Windy City Green Power–www.cleanpowerchicago.org