Ald. Danny Solis Joins with SEIU to Back City Council Measure to Reduces Chicago Air Pollution
Ald. Danny Solis (25th Ward) joins with the SEIU Doctors Council—a group of 500 physicians— to win passage of the Chicago Clean Power Ordinance, a measure that’s seeks to reduce the amount of particulate matter and carbon dioxide emitted into the air from two coal-fired power plants located on Chicago’s near Southwest side.
Solis said he was reluctant to support the pollution reduction measure in Chicago’s City Council because he believed Chicago’s clean air policy could be more comprehensively addressed at the federal level; including with the U.S. Congress where Democrats held enough votes to resolve this issue fully. Today, he no longer believes that to be the case because Republicans now control the U.S. House of Representatives and they have voiced no interest in taking up issues related to Chicago’s clean air or these power plants.
Even though coal-fired power plants are the single largest generators of greenhouse gases, there are several Republican-sponsored bills in the U.S. House (including one sponsored by the Chairman of the House Energy Committee) that calls for stripping away the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases such as those being generated on the southwest side.
“If the Congress won’t help us clean up Chicago’s air, then we must do it ourselves,” Solis said, adding that he has heard the concerns of his constituents and medical experts who connect a wide range of health problems—including deaths–to these power plant emissions which contribute to smog and cause respiratory illnesses such as asthma.
“Resolving this issue can’t wait any longer,” said Solis, who pledged to co-sponsor the legislation and reintroduce the measure in its current form at City Council once the new body is seated in May. “The medical experts are clear: This pollution is a danger to all of us,” Solis added.
The two coal-burning power plants were exempted from the 1977 Clean Air Act because many experts believed the aging plants, which came online in the early 1900s, were on the verge of closing down.
Officials at the SEIU Doctor’s Council welcomed the 25th Ward Alderman’s support, calling it significant to winning the legislation’s passage and improving the health of thousands of Chicago residents.
“We welcome the support of Ald. Solis and look forward to working with him to pass this ordinance, and in moving forward to ensure that the health of our patients and the community will be protected,” said Dr. Ravi Shah, a family medicine physician who treats patients at public clinics in the Cook County Health System.