National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) leaders commended the agreement between Midwest Generation, Chicago officials and environmental groups that will lead to the closure of Fisk Generating Station and Crawford Generating Station. Fisk and Crawford ranked as two of the worst environmental justice offenders in an NAACP report released last year.
The report, â€œCoal Blooded: Putting Profits Before People in Illinois,” analyzed emissions and demographic factors â€“ including race, income, and population density â€“ to rank plantsâ€™ â€œenvironmental justice performance.” Fisk and Crawford both received an â€œF.”
â€œThis agreement means a cleaner, healthier environment for the communities around these coal plants,â€ stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. â€œEnvironmental justice is a civil rights issue, and the NAACP is committed to strong regulation and monitoring of toxic coal emissions. For too long, Fisk and Crawford have been literally choking some of Chicagoâ€™s most diverse neighborhoods, and some of its poorest.â€
â€œCoal-fired power plants are disproportionately located in low-income communities and communities of color, and Fisk and Crawford represent two of the most egregious offenders,â€ stated Jacqueline Patterson, Director of NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Programs. â€œThe Little Village Environmental Justice Organization and Mayor Emanuel were effective in raising the health concerns felt by so many Chicago citizens. Though it was a long time coming, it is heartening to see Midwest Generation take the socially responsible path.â€
â€œThe 600,000 Chicago residents living within three miles of Fisk or Crawford have suffered long enough,â€ stated Rose Joshua, President of the NAACP South Side Chicago unit. â€œThis is a true victory for grassroots democracy â€“ a group of citizens who refused to be marginalized and spoke up for the health and wellbeing of their families and their environment.â€
Proximity to coal emissions can lead to a variety of respiratory diseases, including asthma and bronchitis, and can lead to premature death. The average income within three miles of Crawford is $11,097, and 83.9 percent of that population is composed of people of color. In the three miles surrounding Fisk, the average income is $15,065, and people of color make up 83.1 percent of the population.
About “Coal Blooded”
â€œCoal Bloodedâ€ was a coalition effort initiated by NAACP, Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, and the Indigenous Environmental Network.
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.