Clean Air Campaign Illinois Can Do Better


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Coal-burning power plants

Indeck Energy Corporation

Indeck Details - The Dirty Facts About Indeck's Dirty Plant

  • The Indeck Energy Corporation wants Governor Rod Blagojevich to give them a permit to pollute. Indeck is proposing to build a dirty coal-fired power plant in Elwood, Will County, just 55 miles south of the Chicago Loop. Thousands of tons of new pollution will be added to Chicago’s already polluted air, jeopardizing the health of millions of families including 500,000 asthmatics.
  • Air pollution levels in the Chicago area already violate federal health standards. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on more than 20 days last summer the smog levels were so high that the air was unsafe to breathe.
  • Chicago is also the nation’s asthma capital. With asthma rates soaring 30 to 40 percent above the national average, more Chicagoans die from asthma than in any other U.S. city.

Dirty coal plants are already jeopardizing our health

  • Illinois’ existing dirty coal plants are the state’s largest sources of pollution. A 2002 Harvard study found that the nine existing, dirty coal plants in and around Chicago are responsible for 320 premature deaths and 21,500 asthma attacks, each year.
  • These dirty coal-fired power plants are also Illinois’s largest source of mercury pollution. Mercury has poisoned every lake, river, and stream in Illinois, so much so that there is a state-wide advisory against eating fish. Not only does mercury poison our waterways, but studies link mercury to developmental disorders in children.
  • Indeck’s coal plant will add to the pollution from existing coal plants and so means more asthma attacks, more premature deaths, and more contaminated fish.

Indeck’s dirty coal plant is bad for our economy and bad for our businesses

  • Increased healthcare costs: Each year, 70,000 Chicago-area residents are rushed to the emergency room with an asthma-related emergency and 19,000 are hospitalized, at a cost of between $5,000-$10,000 per visit. More air pollution means more hospitalizations, which in turn means higher insurance premiums for those of us fortunate enough to have health insurance and higher taxes for all of us to cover the costs for the uninsured.
  • Increased business costs: The Chicago area is under a federal timetable to meet stringent federal air quality standards. Indeck’s coal plant proposal to add thousands of tons of new pollution will mean that existing Chicago area businesses (and new businesses wishing to locate here) have to cut their pollution by buying and installing costly pollution controls.
  • Increased taxes: Indeck wants $50 million in subsidies to build this coal plant and pollute our air. Even if the state were not proposing to cut funding for education and healthcare priorities, taxes should not be spent on projects that will hurt our communities.

Indeck’s coal plant would degrade park and destroy wetlands

  • Part of Indeck’s coal plant would be constructed in the buffer zone designed to protect the 20,000-acre Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie – the only prairie of its type in the nation. Indeck also wants to fill and pave over our wetlands.

Wisconsin is doing better, so can Illinois

  • Don’t be fooled by Indeck’s claims of clean technology. Indeck’s dirty coal plant will pollute five-times more than a similar size coal plant proposed in Wisconsin. A power plant fired by natural gas would be 300 times cleaner, and a wind-powered project generates no pollution whatsoever. Compare the emissions of sulfur dioxide (causes acid rain), nitrogen oxide (causes smog), mercury, soot and carbon monoxide (1MW is enough electricity to power 1,000 homes):
  Indeck 600MW Dirty Coal WI Energy 615MW
Gassified Coal
Calpine, WI 523MW
Natural Gas
Bloomington, IL
400 MW Wind
Pollution / Year        
Sulfur Dioxide 3,840 691 11 0
Nitrogen Oxides 2,560 1,611 169 0
Mercury (tons/yr) 0.10 0.03 0 0
Particles (Soot) 384 253 276 0
Carbon Monoxide 2,816 691 123 0

Illinois residents need cleaner power, not more dirty power

  • Illinois has a surplus of electricity, and this surplus comes from the very utilities that jeopardize our health and environment. Official estimates indicate that dirty coal and unsafe nuclear plants produce 20 to 30 percent more electricity than we need.
  • We can reduce our reliance on coal and nuclear power by investing in clean wind and solar energy. The Environmental Law and Policy Center recently reported that for less than a 4% increase in electric bills Illinois could increase its use of renewables by 20%.
  • Powering Illinois with clean renewable energies is already in the works. Our state’s first wind project is under construction and will produce electricity for thousands of our homes. Not only does wind energy allow Illinois residents to breathe a little easier, but our family farmers reap substantial annual rental payments.

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