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Chicago Coal Facts

Why Adopt a Clean Power Ordinance?
Protecting public health and welfare is a fundamental responsibility of the government. Yet each year, Fisk and Crawford, two coal-fired power plants in Chicago’s Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods, emit thousands of tons of harmful air pollutants that directly affect the health of City residents.

Fisk and Crawford are Chicagoʼs largest sources of particulate-forming air pollution:
• In the last three years alone, these plants combined have spewed over 45,000 tons of pollution into the air we breathe, compromising the health of all Chicagoans. Pollution from these two plants has created up to $1 billion in health and related damages in the last eight years.
• Particulate matter from the Fisk and Crawford coal-fired power plants impairs visibility and contributes to lung cancer, heart attacks, premature deaths, acute and chronic bronchitis, emergency room visits, asthma and other respiratory illnesses. Those who live closest to these plants are most affected, resulting in missed school days and work absenteeism.
• State and federal laws have so far failed to curb the negative effects of these plants.

Emissions are making us sick:
• Chicago has one of the highest asthma rates in the country. Our asthma hospitalization rate is nearly double the national average.
• According to a September 2010 study conducted by the Clean Air Task Force, air pollution from Fisk and Crawford causes more than 40 deaths, 720 asthma attacks and 66 heart attacks annually. Chicago has the highest concentration of people living near coal plants in the nation.
• More people live near Fisk than any other power plant in the U.S. Crawford is second worst. The population density surrounding Fisk alone is nearly twice that of the third ranked plant.
• Communities living next to these plants are among the most marginalized. Over 83% of Chicagoʼs residents who live within three miles of the Fisk and Crawford plants are non-white.

Fisk and Crawford are also two of Chicagoʼs largest contributors to climate change. In 2007, combined they emitted nearly 5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. This is equivalent to the emissions from 872,042 cars.

Com Ed has testified before the ICC that it plans to build new transmission lines by 2011. Once these new lines are in place, Fisk and Crawford will no longer be needed to keep the electrical grid stable. The new transmission lines will make it possible for Midwest Generation to update or repower its plants without interrupting local the power supply.

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