The Clean Air Act requires the EPA to designate “non-attainment” areas, where air quality does not meet federal health standards or where emissions contribute to nearby areas’ nonattainment. This designation forces the state to create a cleanup plan. In 2018, the Trump EPA issued new designations for ozone pollution which weakened protections for counties in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana. With this move, the EPA is ignoring the clear scientific evidence of persistent pollution, letting polluters off the hook, and putting millions at risk from dangerous smog. There is no reason to burden communities with preventable pollution, so we are fighting back to protect public health. In August 2018, ELPC filed a lawsuit against the Trump EPA for issuing ozone designations that are not consistent with the data or sound science.
Fossil fuel burning facilities cause all kinds of air and water pollution, including smog. ELPC has been working for decades to make these dirty facilities clean up or shut down. We have helped shut down numerous coal plants across the Midwest, while supporting the rise of clean, renewable energy in their place.
ELPC is leading the way to electrify the Midwest’s transportation infrastructure, to reduce diesel hazards and other pollutants. We are working with states and utilities to build a region-wide network of charging stations for personal electric vehicles. We are working with cities to electrify municipal vehicles. Most importantly, we are working to reduce diesel exposure for kids through our electric school bus campaign. Collaborating with others we have successfully secured state funds from the VW emissions settlement for school buses in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, and Ohio, and we are continuing to identify additional funding opportunities as they arise.
ELPC works with community members, youth, and interns to conduct air quality monitoring in Chicago. We analyze traffic, construction, and infrastructure data, overlaid with public health rates, to identify areas of the city that are most harmed by diesel pollution.
ELPC works with local leaders and communities to reduce diesel pollution from many sources. We launched a multi-year effort to reduce idling of diesel buses, trucks and equipment in Chicago. We worked with two construction companies to pilot low emission practices and equipment; one has since incorporated reduced idling and is using ELPC’s air quality data to prioritize cleaner modern equipment at its local job sites. We helped secure an agreement for air cleanup and greening investments in Chicago’s Englewood community in exchange for a railyard expansion in 2013, including streetlight synchronization to reduce idling time outside the railyard in front of nearby homes and schools. We are advocating for state policies that would encourage a smooth transition to clean electric equipment and vehicles. With creativity and collaboration, we can improve our air together