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Deal Reached To Shut Down Fisk, Crawford Coal Plants Sooner Than Expected

By Chuck Sudo in News on Feb 29, 2012 3:30PM

The Fisk Generating Plant in Pilsen (pictured) will shut down Dec. 31. (Image Credit: Kenneth Spencer

Chalk another victory for Mayor Rahm Emanuel. He managed to negotiate a deal with Midwest Generation (owner of the coal-fired Fisk and Crawford Electrical generation plants) and the Chicago Clean Power Coalition where Midwest Generation will close their plants well ahead of a 2018 deadline to either clean up the plants or shut them down.

Under the terms of the deal, Midwest Generation will close the Pilsen-based Fisk plant on Dec. 31. The Crawford plant, in Little Village, will close at the end of 2014. Emanuel decided to put his political clout behind support of the Clean Power Ordinance, a long-stalled piece of legislation that may have been overturned on a legal challenge, and Midwest Generation decided retrofitting the two plants to reduce emissions would have proven too costly.

An Emanuel source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Sun-Times:

"It’s a lot cleaner. We don’t have to go through City Council meetings with more protests outside. It was just good to sit down and come to a workable solution together."

Last May, Greenpeace activists took to the Fisk plant's smokestack in support of the Clean Power Ordinance. The health risks posed by the two plants has been well documented and extended far beyond the city limits. Both plants are among the biggest polluters in Cook County.

The Chicago Clean Power Coalition has fought for the closing of the plants and thee Clean Power Ordinance for over two years and released a study that showed 72 percent of Chicagoans supported the ordinance. In a statement on their website, they wrote:

"Today, clean power advocates can celebrate the end of the most recent 2 1/2-year long campaign that successfully brought about an end to pollution from Chicago’s two coal plants. Nearly 60 organizations and groups came together to work side by side with communities affected by coal pollution to make Chicago a coal-free city."