Kudos to the citizen groups for “taking to the streets“. It is really a travesty that in a world-class, allegedly green city like Chicago, these polluters are allowed to operate their stacks with impunity. Outrageous, indeed.
Frustrated by inaction at every level of government, several environmental watchdog organizations announced plans today to sue the owner of Chicago’s two coal-fired power plants for alleged violations of the federal Clean Air Act.
The coal plants are among the biggest sources of dangerous air emissions in the region, but authorities have moved only haltingly to compel them to clean up.
Just a week ago several environmental groups chided Chicago officials for failing to get tough with the plants, which studies have blamed for scores of ER visits and premature deaths every year. Today the groups essentially took aim at the state and federal governments, which they contend should do more to force plant owner Midwest Generation to slash its emissions of dangerous soot.
The organizations sent a letter to the company and government regulators declaring their intention to sue within two months. They charge that in its own reports to the state Midwest Generation has repeatedly admitted it produced a higher concentration of soot than allowed. Soot, otherwise known as particulate matter, has been linked to heart disease, asthma, cancer, and other ailments.
“How do they get away with that?” asked Faith Bugel, a senior attorney with the Environmental Law and Policy Center. “Beats me. That’s why we’re outraged.”
[Click to continue reading The latest salvo in the fight to clean up Chicago’s air | The Blog | Chicago Reader]
If you ask me, this lame excuse by Midwest Generation is not sufficient. All coal plants should be shut down if they can’t control their exceedances.
Midwest Generation spokesman Charley Parnell says the environmental groups are blowing things out of proportion. “We have acknowledged that there have been exceedances from our operations, as there are with every coal-fired power plant in the country,” he said. “The [government] agencies have always allowed for those exceedances because it’s impossible to run a coal plant without them.”