Guest written by Ellen Rendulich from Citizens Against Ruining the Environment
From many of our windows in Will County, IL we watch the nasty pollution being spewed into the air from the coal plant that is in walking distance and we remember…
A sister-in-law who fought respiratory disease the majority of her life until finally leaving two boys under 6 years old. Our old friend who dragged the oxygen tanks around for years until he finally passed. As many of our community members reach for their inhalers and decide today there will be too much air pollution from the coal stacks to keep their windows open, we ask ourselves why are these antiquated coal fired power plants still spewing toxic chemicals into our air?
Edison International's fifty- and sixty-year-old coal fired power plants in Illinois continue to emit hundreds of thousands of tons of harmful air pollution every year. These facilities remain the largest single source of air pollution in our state. Most still do not comply with the Clean Air Act and do not have the modern pollution control devices that have been required of new power plants for over 40 years. According to the Clean Air Task Force, coal plants in IL are responsible for hundreds of deaths every year. Accordingly, the two coal plants that can be seen from our backyards in Will County are responsible for 60 deaths per year.
Members of our grassroots organization, Citizens Against Ruining the Environment not only suffer from chronic respiratory illness such as asthma and are not able to breathe without daily use of inhalers, but have family members and friends who have died from the deadly pollution that is spewed daily from these nasty facilities.
So what does California have to do with coal plants in Illinois? Stockholders. Edison International, the owner of these coal plants, is based in California. While investors discuss what types of industries to invest in we ask they consider the value of human life. It is our fundamental right to breathe clean air, remember our families.
We ask that Edison International set retirement dates for the rest of their coal fleet in IL by the end of the year and invest in clean, renewable energy in our state. Remember that the decisions you make in your boardrooms have life or death consequences for people thousands of miles away.
Please join us in Joliet on Sunday, June 10th to hear more stories about how coal has impacted Illinois communities.