That is the number of virtual signatures CREDO Action obtained on a petition headed to Chicago's new boss to stop coal pollution in the city.
The organization, along with Greenpeace and the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, will deliver the petition to the mayor’s office on Monday, Chicago Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel’s inauguration day.
The petition targets the Fisk and Crawford coal-fired power plants
located in Pilsen and Little Village, respectively. “These dirty coal
plants are major sources of sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide and soot --
pollutants that exacerbate asthma and cause heart attacks and lung
disease,” CREDO Action explains on it’s website. The petition urges Emanuel to help pass the city’s Clean Power Ordinance, a measure that
would require the both plants to undergo major modifications to upgrade
their pollution controls. Both plants were rebuilt in the 1950s after
being grandfathered in under the 1970 Clean Air Act. Groups advocating
for the legislation say emissions from the two plants caused 41
premature deaths and 550 emergency room visits annually for ailments
like asthma, heart disease and cancer.
This public health measure has become political, particularly with longtime Ald. Daniel Solis, whose 25th Ward includes the Fisk plant. Over the last few years, environmental and community advocates have criticized Solis for accepting more than $50,000 from Midwest Generation, the owner of Fisk and Crawford. Solis now supports the Clean Power Ordinance and may be the critical vote needed to get this measure passed.
Chicago's Environmental Law and Policy Center projects there are now finally enough votes to pass it. Now the question becomes will Rahm Emanuel offer his support?