Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Midwest Generation, owner of the Fisk and Crawford coal-fired power plants on the city’s Southwest Side, have given themselves a February 29 deadline to negotiate a settlement over the plants, according to Ald. Danny Solis (25th) at a City Hall press conference today.
There could finally be a resolution in the battle over the decades-long air pollution problem in the Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods that often left residents wondering if government would ever respond to the dangerous, even deadly, levels of both greenhouse gas and soot emissions at the plants.
The City Council eventually responded with the Clean Power Ordinance, legislation with pollution standards strong enough to effectively shut the plants down or make Midwest Generation convert their energy source to natural gas.
About 2/3 of the Chicago City Council supports the ordinance including Solis, whose 25th Ward includes the Fisk plant.
Solis said that if negotiations fail between Emanuel and Midwest Generation, “we will go on with the Clean Power Ordinance.”
He added that State Rep. Ed Acevedo (D-Chicago) is proposing legislation similar to the Clean Power Ordinance in the Illinois General Assembly.
Solis stressed, though, that the negotiations are “progressing well" and that an end game will likely be reached between Emanuel and the energy company, not via legislation.
He declined to offer specifics about the negotiations, i.e. whether Midwest Generation might agree to shut the plants down or curb their air pollution emissions.
A call to Midwest Generation was not immediately returned.