Clean Air

The Midwest is both the “corn belt” and a “manufacturing belt,” which means massive agricultural and industrial sources of air pollution. On top of that, Chicago is a national transportation hub where trains, trucks, boats, and heavy construction equipment dominate the already dense city center. All of these sources generate gases, heavy metals, and microscopic particles that pose serious health risks, impact climate change, and threaten environmental ecosystems.  The good news is we can reduce these threats and protect public health without sacrificing economic development or job creation.

What is ELPC Doing?

ELPC “says yes” to clean energy and clean transportation policies that make economic and environmental sense.  We also “say no” to our region’s worst sources of air pollution in order to protect public health and our natural resources.

  • Coal The Midwest has a heavy concentration of old, dirty coal plants. Each emits numerous pollutants that contaminate our air, water, and soil. Our attorneys work to ensure our communities are protected by shutting down these dirty plants, and building effective pollution controls and cleanup efforts.
  • Mercury –Tiny amounts of mercury, a potent neurotoxin, can cause harmful effects on children and adults. ELPC fights for state and federal protections to reduce mercury pollution to protect public health.
  • Ozone – Ozone at ground level, also known as “smog,” is a dangerous air toxin, formed by chemical reaction from the numerous pollutants emitted by factories, industries, and cars across the Midwest. ELPC fights to make sure communities with unhealthy air are properly designated to get the resources needed to clean up and improve public health.
  • Diesel – Diesel exhaust from machinery, trucks, and trains is made up of over 40 toxic air pollutants. These microscopic particles can become lodged in the lungs, posing serious health risks. ELPC’s attorneys and advocates work with local groups to analyze diesel impacts and drive policy solutions to curb these emissions.
  • Air Quality Monitoring – ELPC works with community partners across Chicago to monitor air quality in the city to identify hot-spots or toxic roadways. With this unique project, ELPC is taking years of air pollution data and making it available for the public to learn about the air in their neighborhood and take action.


Our work to enforce clean air standards involves concurrent scientific analysis, community organizing, policy advocacy and legal strategy in collaboration with local community, environmental and public health groups.

ELPC’s Founding Vision is Becoming Today’s Sustainability Reality

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