Poll: Chicagoans want City to reduce coal plant pollution
December 1, 2011
Protesters from the Pilsen Alliance express their displeasure with the Pilsen and Little Village coal plants. (Persepolitan Images by: Amir Normandi)

New poll results show that voters in every part of Chicago support efforts by the City to reduce pollution from the Fisk and Crawford coal plants.

Of the 600 registered Chicago voters polled, 72% said they would support a plan that reduces soot pollution from the coal plants by 90% and carbon dioxide pollution by 50%. Even after hearing arguments both opposing and favoring stricter pollution standards, 64% of respondents said they would support City efforts to reduce pollution from Fisk and Crawford.

“This poll shows that people all across our city want cleaner air,” said Kim Wasserman, director of the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization.

Latino neighborhoods and the South Side showed particularly strong support for reducing pollution. The Fisk coal plant is located in Pilsen, and the Crawford coal plant is located in Little Village. Midwest Generation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Edison International, owns both plants.

“Pollution from Fisk and Crawford affects everyone in Chicago,” said Maria Torres, an organizer with Pilsen Alliance. “People in Pilsen and Little Village have been fighting coal plant pollution for years, but it’s clear the rest of the city understands that their health is at risk, too.”

In a separate question, 56% of those surveyed said protecting the environment is good for the economy. “Chicagoans understand that we don’t need to choose between clean air and economic growth,” said Howard Learner, executive director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC). “Reducing pollution will protect public health and make Chicago’s economy stronger.”

Researchers from the Clean Air Task Force found pollution from Fisk and Crawford causes 42 premature deaths, 66 heart attacks, and 720 asthma attacks each year. The National Research Council found pollution from Fisk and Crawford costs the public more than $120 million each year in health and related damages. Fako & Associates conducted the poll, which has a margin of error of 4% and was commissioned by the Chicago Clean Power Coalition, a grassroots coalition of more than 60 Chicago organizations that support transition from fossil fuel energy to clean, safe, and renewable energy sources.

For information on the coalition, go to www.cleanpowerchicago.org. For information on the ELPC, go to www.ELPC.org.