Chicago Tribune: Two Chicago Coal Plants to Close in 2012

Midwest Generation announced Wednesday that both the Fisk and Crawford coal plants will be closed in September 2012. The Chicago Tribune broke the news, which was announced during a Q1 shareholder’s call.

Earlier this year, the company agreed to retire the Chicago coal plants in response to a 10 year grassroots campaign by a coalition of community, health, and environmental organizations. According to agreements signed by Midwest Generation, the Clean Power Coalition, and the City of Chicago, the Fisk coal plant must shut down in 2012 and the Crawford coal plant by 2014.

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The Chicago Clean Power Coalition released the following statement in response to the news.

For Immediate Release

May 2, 2012

Chicago’s Fisk and Crawford Coal Plants to Close in September

Midwest Generation is accelerating the closure of two of the nation’s oldest and dirtiest coal plants, saying both the Fisk plant in Pilsen and the Crawford plant in Little Village will close in September 2012.

On today’s first quarter investor call, Ted Craver, CEO of parent-company Edison International, announced that the Fisk and Crawford coal plants in Chicago will shut ahead of schedule.

Earlier this year, Edison International agreed to retire the Chicago coal plants in response to a 10 year grassroots campaign by a coalition of community, health, and environmental organizations. According to agreements signed by Midwest Generation, the Clean Power Coalition, and the City of Chicago, the Fisk coal plant must shut down in 2012 and the Crawford coal plant by 2014.

Today’s announcement confirms that economic pressures and grassroots opposition present a real challenge to the long term viability of Edison’s coal fleet. Energy producers are recognizing the need to move towards cleaner, more cost effective energy sources

In response to today’s decision, members of the Chicago Clean Power Coalition said:

“We welcome the news that both plants will close earlier than expected. Midwest Generation made this decision independently based on an economic analysis. Coal is not just harmful to public health and air quality; it’s no longer a working business model. Clean energy is where the jobs are now.” – Faith Bugel, senior attorney with Environmental Law & Policy Center.

“There’s no future in coal. Edison International executives can protect Illinois families and their own investors by retiring the remaining Midwest Generation coal plants and committing future investments to renewable energy,” – Kelly Mitchell, Greenpeace Coal Campaigner

“It’s amazing to see the economic times finally catch up with what our communities have known all along – coal is a dirty investment. We are excited to hear that our communities will not have to wait until 2014 for a breath of clean air. In our hearts, we know that Midwest Generation will do right by its employees and invest in them like they have invested in clean energy.” Kimberly Wasserman, Executive Director, Little Village Environmental Justice Organization

“In the neighborhoods surrounding the plants tonight, tiny and older lungs especially will breathe a little easier knowing that 100% of the deadly coal pollution generated in Chicago will end in just 4 short months. This news couldn’t be better and will inspire residents as they work together to gather and construct proposals for how future uses of the sites can benefit the community.” – Jerry Mead-Lucero, local resident and organizer for PERRO, the Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization.

“Midwest Generation is doing what it needs to do by shutting the plants early. Now we need to move forward toward clean air and a worthy replacement for the plants.” – Nelson Soza, Pilsen Alliance

“Chicago still has a long term air pollution problem and finally closing the last several ancient, inefficient and dirty coal power plants in the Chicago area would improve the health of all area residents by reducing asthma attacks, heart attacks, hospitalizations and deaths.” – Brian Urbaszewski, Director of Environmental Health for Respiratory health Association of Metropolitan Chicago.

“Today we won two more years of cleaner, safer air for the children of Little Village, culminating the many years of hard work by local families and concerned residents. We are now calling on Midwest Generation to protect their employees and asking for investments in energy efficiency that will create new jobs to assist the workers and community with a smooth transition to a clean energy future. We we look forward to continuing our work with the Chicago Clean Power Coalition and Mayor Emanuel to ensure new productive uses of these sites and a cleaner future our city.” -Jack Darin, Sierra Club Illinois Chapter Director

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