Closure of Chicago's Crawford, Fisk electric plants ends coal eraThe Chicago Tribune's brief two paragraph death announcement for the two coal dinosaurs doesn't do justice to the long grassroots movement by coalition of of groups across Chicago that came together to form the Chicago Clean Power Coalition. Together over the last 10 years, they created a political force to be reckoned with, pushing for change that finally brought the last coal burning generating plants inside a major city to an end. The poor economics for operators of coal plants that is driving the shift away from coal across the country, made this a good time to make the shift away from coal for Chicago, so the plants planned closure was moved up.
By Julie Wernau
Tribune staff reporter
The Fisk power plant, in service since 1903, burned its final batch of coal Thursday while its sister plant Crawford shut down by Wednesday, ending Chicago's run as the only major U.S. city with two coal plants operating in its borders.
Their closings, confirmed by owner Midwest Generation, eliminate Chicago's two biggest industrial sources of carbon dioxide emissions, which contribute to global warming. At their peak the plants supplied power to roughly 1 million homes.
Coalition building was the key to Chicago Clean Power Coalition's success. The Coalition worked hard at bringing a large assortment of diverse grassroots groups together to accomplish a goal that benefited everyone.
Chicago's dirty coal plants are history, but the invaluable lessons in coalition building will be useful tools in fighting for a range of progressive goals going forward. Grassroots groups all over the country can use Chicago Clean Power Coalition model for building real political muscle to achieve their goals.
These groups all came together to form the Chicago Clean Power Coalition.
8th Day Center for Justice
49th Ward Green Corps
Aerotecture International Inc.
American Renewable Energy & Power, LLC
American Medical Student Association-UIC
Blacks in Green
Buddhist Peace Fellowship
CAPOW! Citizens Act to Protect Our Water
Chicago Youth Climate Coalition
Citizen Action / Illinois
Citizens Against Ruining the Environment
Citizens Committee for a Clean Blue Island
Collective Consciousness Movement
David Weiner & Associates
Design Makes Change
Doctors Council SEIU
Energy Action Coalition
Environmental Law & Policy Center
Faith in Place
Gaia Movement USA
Green Guy Solutions
Green Sanctuary Group, Beverly Unitarian Church
Growing Station Community Garden
KenJiva Energy Systems
Illinois Solar Energy Association
Illinois Student Environmental Coalition
Little Village Env. Justice Organization
Loyola University, Student Env. Alliance
Natural Resources Defense Council
Nuclear Energy Information Service
Oikos: The Religion and Environment Initiative
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Pilsen Env. Rights & Reform Organization
Progressive Democrats of America
Protestants for the Common Good
Rainforest Action Network Chicago
Ravenswood Community Council
Respiratory Health Assoc. of Metro. Chgo.
Southeast Environmental Task Force
Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation
SolAir Works, Inc.
SAIC Student Environmental Activism Group
Students for a Just and Stable Future–UChicago
Team 15 United
Union of Concerned Scientists
UIC College of Medicine, Community Action Program
Wellington Avenue UCC
Windy City Green Power