Ald. Daniel Solis (25th Ward), a longtime opponent of the Clean Power Ordinance, legislation that seeks to force two Southwest Side coal-fired power plants to curb their emissions, now says he will support the measure if re-elected to City Council. Solis faces Cuahutemoc Morfin, who has repeatedly criticized Solis for his failure to get behind the bill, in the 25th Ward run-off election.
In an interview with the Chicago News Cooperative, Solis said (subscription required) he would introduce the measure in the new council. He decided to switch his position after a meeting with SEIU, the News Cooperative reports, which backed one of Solis' opponents in the first round of voting in February and sent out mailings blasting him for failing to support the measure (the SEIU State Council sponsors this website). Solis previously called the Clean Power Ordinance "redundant" and argued coal plant emissions was an issue that should be left to the federal government. Morfin points to the $50,000 in campaign donations Solis received from Midwest Generation, which operates the Fisk coal-fired plant, which is in Solis' ward.
Solis has been a target of environmentalists, who see him as an important symbolic roadblock to the ordinance's chances of passage. The day before the February 22 election, the Chicago Tribune reported that Midwest Generation was taking as much time as possible before fixing the pollution, which stood in contrast to the company's past comments that their plants' environmental hazards were a top priority. The Tribune report added that the plants are the area's "biggest sources of smog- and soot-forming sulfur dioxide and nitrogen
oxides" and are "some of the top sources of toxic mercury that
contaminates fish in the Great Lakes and other waterways."