Midwest Generation

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Midwest Generation, LLC was formed on July 12, 1999 and is a subsidiary of Edison International. Midwest Generation is "a Delaware limited liability company with Edison Mission Midwest Holdings Co. as the sole owner. Edison Mission Midwest Holdings is a wholly owned subsidiary of Midwest Generation EME, LLC, which is in turn a wholly owned subsidiary of EME. EME is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Edison International."[1]

History

Midwest Generation was formed on July 12, 1999 as a Delaware limited liability company with Edison Mission Midwest Holdings Co. as the sole owner. Edison Mission Midwest Holdings is a wholly owned subsidiary of Midwest Generation LLC, which is in turn a wholly owned subsidiary of Edison Mission Energy (EME), which is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Edison International. Midwest Generation was formed for the purpose of owning or leasing, making improvements to, and operating and selling the capacity and energy of, the power generation assets it purchased from Commonwealth Edison in 1999, including six coal plants consisting of 5,172 MW, and the Fisk and Waukegan on-site, oil-fired generating peakers consisting of 305 MW.

Midwest Generation is a party to a contract with Edison Mission Marketing & Trading, Inc. (EMMT), an EME subsidiary engaged in asset management and trading activities, under which EMMT sells energy and capacity from the Midwest Generation plants into the wholesale market, engages in hedging activities and provides scheduling and other services. Midwest Generation is also a party to a revolving credit agreement with EMMT under which it can make revolving loans to, or have letters of credit issued on behalf of, EMMT in order to provide credit support for forward contracts.

In August 2000, Midwest Generation completed a sale-leaseback transaction with respect to the Powerton and Joliet power facilities to third-party lessors for an aggregate purchase price of $1.367 billion. In connection with this transaction, Midwest Generation facilitated the issuance of lessor debt of $1.147 billion in Pass-Through Certificates which were registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.[2]

Midwest Generation and Coal

Existing Coal Plants

Plant State Year(s) Built Capacity
Crawford Generating Station IL 1958, 1961 597 MW
Fisk Generating Station IL 1968 374 MW
Homer City Generating Station PA 1969 2,012 MW
Joliet Station IL 1965, 1966 1,320 MW
Powerton Generating Station IL 1972, 1975 1,786 MW
Waukegan Generating Station IL 1952, 1958, 1962 803 MW
Will County Generating Station IL 1955, 1957, 1963 1,269 MW

More about the plants from the company website:

A Daily Train Supplies Chicago's Last Coal Fired Polluters: The Fisk and Crawford Power Plants.
  • "The Crawford Station is located in Cook County, Illinois, and is within the city limits of Chicago. The Crawford Station occupies approximately 72 acres, inclusive of the switchyard. The operating units are referred to as Units 7 and 8 and began operations in 1958 and 1961, respectively. Southern PRB coal is loaded into barges at the Will County Station and delivered by barge primarily on a "just-in-time" basis supported by Crawford's on-site storage. Natural gas is used for ignition and combustion support and for full boiler operation, when economical. Peoples Energy Corporation delivers natural gas under a delivery contract that includes balancing storage, which is also shared by the Fisk Station."[1]
  • "The Fisk Station is located in Cook County, Illinois, and is within the city limits of Chicago. The Fisk Station is located on approximately 44 acres, inclusive of the switchyard. The operating unit comprising the Fisk Station is referred to as Unit 19 and began operations in 1959. Southern PRB coal is loaded into barges at the Will County Station, delivered by barge on a "just-in-time" basis. Natural gas is used for ignition and combustion support and for full boiler operation, when economical. Peoples Gas delivers natural gas under a delivery contract that includes balancing storage, which is shared by the Crawford Station."[1]
  • "The Joliet Station is located in Joliet, Will County, Illinois, approximately 40 miles southwest of Chicago on an approximately 467-acre site. The operating units comprising the Joliet Station are referred to as Units 6, 7 and 8. Only Units 7 and 8 are subject to the leveraged lease transaction described in this annual report. The operation of Units 6, 7 and 8 began in 1959, 1965 and 1966, respectively. Joliet Unit 6 is a 290 MW coal-fired unit located adjacent to, but across the Des Plaines River from, Joliet Units 7 and 8. Joliet Units 7 and 8 are coal-fired and have a combined capacity of 1,036 MW. The Joliet Station burns Southern PRB coal which is shipped by rail. With the completion of a new rail spur in early 2003, direct deliveries are received from the Union Pacific Railroad. Natural gas is delivered for the boilers as a startup and stabilizing fuel by Nicor Gas Company under a delivery contract."[1]
  • "The Powerton Generating Station is located in Pekin, Tazwell County, Illinois, approximately 16 miles southwest of Peoria or 166 miles from Chicago on an approximately 568-acre site. The Powerton Station is subject to the leveraged lease transaction described in this annual report. The site also includes an approximately 1,440-acre lake. The operating units comprising the Powerton Station are referred to as Units 5 and 6 and began operations in 1972 and 1975, respectively. The Powerton Station burns Southern PRB coal which is shipped by rail by the Illinois and Midland Railroad Company from interchange points with the Union Pacific Railroad."[1]
  • "The Waukegan Generating Station is located in Waukegan, Lake County, Illinois, on Lake Michigan. The Waukegan Station occupies approximately 194 acres, inclusive of the switchyard. The operating units comprising the Waukegan Station are referred to as Units 7 and 8 and began operations in 1958 and 1962, respectively. Midwest Generation shut down permanently Unit 6, representing 100 MW of capacity, on December 21, 2007. Unit 7 utilizes oil or natural gas and Unit 8 utilizes natural gas for ignition and startup. The Waukegan Station burns Southern PRB coal, which is shipped by rail by the Union Pacific Railroad."[1]
  • "The Will County Station is located in Romeoville, Will County, Illinois. The Will County Station is located on approximately 215 acres, inclusive of the switchyard. The operating units comprising the Will County Station are referred to as Units 1, 2, 3 and 4 and began operations between 1955 and 1963. Beginning in January 2003, operations at Units 1 and 2 were suspended pending improvement in market conditions. In late 2004, both units were returned to service. Midwest Generation has agreed with the Illinois EPA to shut down permanently Units 1 and 2 on or before December 31, 2010. The Will County Station burns Southern PRB coal, which is shipped by rail by the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway Company from interchange points with the Union Pacific Railroad. The Will County Station uses No. 2 fuel oil for ignition and combustion support, which is delivered by tanker truck to a 100,000 gallon on-site storage tank."[1]
  • "On September 30, 2004, Midwest Generation permanently ceased operations at the Collins Station and all units were decommissioned on or before December 31, 2004. The Collins Station was a 2,698 MW gas and oil-fired power plant located in Grundy County, near Morris, Illinois."[1]

Coal unit closures

Will County and Waukegan

As part of a 2006 agreement with the state of Illinois, the company said it plans to shut down the three smallest generating units in its fleet -- two units at the Will County Generating Station in Romeoville and one at its Waukegan Generating Station -- between the end of 2007 and the end of 2010. The company also has committed that its smallest plant -- the single-unit Fisk Generating Station in Chicago -- will either have additional controls for sulfur dioxide emissions or be shut down by the end of 2015. The same agreement to shut down or install additional controls applies to the Waukegan Generating Station by the end of 2014 and to the Crawford Generating Station in Chicago by the end of 2018.[3]

In November 2011, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan killed a deal that would have required the state to sign a long-term contract to buy electricity from a new Midwest Generation wind farm in return for closing the Chicago coal plants in 2012. The company is searching for ways to pay off a $190 million loan it secured to finance its wind project.[4]

Fisk and Crawford

In a deal announced on February 29, 2012, after a multi-year campaign by community groups, Midwest Generation said it will close its Fisk Generating Station in the Pilsen neighborhood by December 2012 and the Crawford Generating Station in Little Village by the end of 2014.[5] On May 1, 2012, Midwest said it will shutter both plants in September 2012. With the early closures, environmental groups agreed not to oppose the company's request for an extension on complying with new environmental standards. The company now has until 2014 to clean up Waukegan Generating Station or shut it down.[6]

Pollution and pollution controls

Resident Kimberly Wasserman

In accordance with a state agreement in 2006, Midwest Generation has invested about $60 million in pollution control upgrades at Fisk and Crawford since purchasing the plants from ComEd in 1999. The Fisk and Crawford plants have mercury controls to meet state requirements, which must lead to a 90 percent reduction in mercury by 2015 at each plant, and plan to have nitrogen oxide controls by 2012. Scrubbers to reduce sulfur dioxide must be installed at Fisk by 2015 and Crawford's two units in 2017 and 2018. Midwest Generation has no plans to take measures to reduce direct particulate matter.[7]

2006 Illinois agreement

As part of a 2006 agreement with the state of Illinois, Midwest said it plans to shut down the three smallest generating units in its fleet -- two units at the Will County Generating Station in Romeoville and one at its Waukegan Generating Station -- between the end of 2007 and the end of 2010. The company also said it is committed that its smallest plant -- the single-unit Fisk Generating Station in Chicago -- will either have additional controls for sulfur dioxide emissions or be shut down by the end of 2015. The same agreement to shut down or install additional controls applies to the Waukegan Generating Station by the end of 2014 and to the Crawford Generating Station in Chicago by the end of 2018.[8]

July 2009 Illinois lawsuit

In July 2009, five groups of environmental and public health advocates announced their intent to file a Clean Air Act lawsuit against Edison International subsidiary Midwest Generation. The groups say Midwest's six Illinois power plants are decades old and do not have the appropriate pollution controls according to EPA standards. Specifically, the lawsuit will focus on opacity violations, a measurement of the light blocked by particulate matter from smokestacks at Midwest's Crawford, Fisk, Joliet, Powerton, Waukegan, and Will County stations.

The concerned groups include Citizens Against Ruining the Environment, the Environmental Law and Policy Center, Natural Resources Defense Council, the Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago, and Sierra Club. The six power plants in question are located in working class and minority neighborhoods, raising concerns about environmental justice. The groups expect to file suit in 60 days, unless Midwest Generation comes into compliance or stops operating, or unless the EPA takes other measures.[9] Shannon Fisk, an attorney for NRDC, described Midwest's Fisk and Crawford plants as, "two dinosaurs in the middle of a large city. They should have cleaned up decades ago. Running those plants is inexpensive for the company, but it's very expensive for public health."[10] A 2001 study by a professor at the Harvard University School of Public Health found that particulate matter from the Fisk and Crawford plants contributes to 41 deaths, 550 emergency room visits, and 2800 asthma attacks each year.[11]

A Daily Train Supplies Chicago's Last Coal Fired Polluters: The Fisk and Crawford Power Plants.

Midwest spokesman Doug MacFarlan said the company is being targeted unfairly, and that Midwest's plants release less particulate matter than most. He also said the company had responded to local complaints by reducing both the amount of coal piled up at Crawford and the dust that blows off barges transporting its coal. "We really believe we have demonstrated environmental responsibility at those plants," McFarlan said. In 2006, Midwest made an agreement with the state of Illinois to reduce emissions at its coal plants. The company has installed mercury controls, but has not decided whether to install scrubbers or shut the plants down. The company has until 2015 to install scrubbers at its Fisk plant and until 2018 to install them at Crawford.[10]

August 2009 Illinois lawsuit

On August 28, 2009, less than a month after the public health lawsuit was filed, the EPA, Department of Justice, and state of Illinois announced that they would also be filing suit against Midwest Generation for illegal emissions of particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide.[12] Their claim charged that the company had upgraded its plants, including Fisk and Crawford, without adding the modern pollution controls required under the Clean Air Act.

Illinois lawsuit dismissed and refiled

In March 2010, a federal judge sided with Midwest, dismissing the allegations of Clean Air Act violations at five Illinois coal-fired power plants and partially dismissing claims of violations at a sixth plant. The judge said the New Source Review violations occurred at the time of construction, and that Midwest Generation cannot be liable for the modifications that occurred prior to Midwest Generation's ownership of the plants. The one exception was the Will County Generating Station, as the utility made modifications after buying it from ComEd. The judge barred claims of monetary relief on that claim, however, because the five-year statute of limitations has expired since the major modifications were made in 2000. The judge's order did not address additional allegations that Midwest Generation had violated Title V operating permits as well as opacity and soot limitations under Illinois's federally approved pollution control plan.[13]

In June 2010, the US EPA, the State of Illinois, and several environmental action groups filed amended complaints similar to the prior 2009 complaints, but also seeking to add Commonwealth Edison and Edison Mission Energy (EME) - an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Edison International - as defendants.[14]

2010: EPA Complaint Against Homer Plant in Pennsylvania

On January 11, 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a Clean Air Act complaint on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency against Midwest Generation and Edison International over their Homer City Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant in Homer City, Indiana County, Pennsylvania.[15]

According to the complaint filed by the EPA, beginning in 1990 operators of the Homer City Power Plant violated the Clean Air Act New Source Review requirements by making major modifications to the boiler units at the power plant and continuing to operate without first obtaining appropriate permits and installing and operating the best available pollution control technologies to reduce sulfur dioxide and particulate matter.[15]

In addition, the complaint alleged that the plant operators had not disclosed the plant’s major modifications, the need for best available control technologies, nor the appropriate emissions limits in their request for a Title V operating permit from Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection. Also, the defendants’ Title V permit did not include the required limits on emissions that would be achieved using the best available pollution control technologies.[15]

States join Homer suit

In February 2011, New Jersey joined in the lawsuit filed by the federal government, New York, and Pennsylvania, asking the court to shut down the plant until it meets standards of the Clean Air Act, as well as civil penalties and other relief. A spokesman for owner Edison Mission Energy has said the company spent about $300 million since its 1999 purchase to reduce emissions and that violations occurred before it acquired the facility.[16]

Permits

In August 2010, after posting a second-quarter profit that missed expectations, Edison International said it will soon decide on a program to cut sulfur dioxide emissions at its Illinois power plants at a maximum cost of $1.2 billion. Edison's Midwest Generation unit must cut mercury, nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, and particulate, or soot, emissions at the plants, under an agreement with the state. The company has installed equipment to cut mercury emissions at the plants and received state approval to install equipment to cut nitrogen oxide emissions, said Edison Chief Executive Ted Craver. Next, the company will make a final decision on a project to cut sulfur dioxide emissions at the plants, and has decided to use a technology that uses dry sodium sorbent to reduce the sulfur dioxide emissions, although the company hasn't decided how many plants will be upgraded with the equipment. If the company installed the equipment at all six plants it would cost a projected $1.2 billion. The company plans to start engineering work and seek construction permits for the project in late 2010.[17]

In documents discovered in February 2011, however, Midwest Generation signaled it might delay installing pollution controls at its plants "for the maximum time available." The documents, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, said whether the company actually makes the $1.2 billion investment depends in part on "regulatory and legislative developments," according to its latest financial documents. The documents conveyed a starkly different message from public statements by Midwest Generation executives, who have pledged to make "meaningful improvements in the environmental performance of our plants."[18]

In the Edison Internation's 2010 Annual Report, the company wrote:

  • Midwest Generation estimates the cost of retrofitting all units, using dry scrubbing with sodium-based sorbents to comply with CPS requirements for SO2 emissions, and the associated upgrading of existing particulate removal systems, would be approximately $1.2 billion in 2010 dollars. If these projects are undertaken, these expenditures would be incurred through 2018.[19]

Poll finds most Chicago residents support pollution controls

A 2011 poll showed that voters in every part of Chicago support efforts by the City to reduce pollution from the Fisk Generating Station and the Crawford Generating Station. 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%. 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. In a separate question, 56% of those surveyed said protecting the environment is good for the economy. 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.[20]

Carbon dioxide emissions

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency greenhouse gas database, Fisk and Crawford are Chicago's largest industrial sources of heat-trapping carbon dioxide, releasing 4.2 million metric tons in 2010. Altogether, Midwest Generation plants emitted more than 31 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2010.[21]

Fisk and Crawford Plants

On February 21, 2012, after months of negotiations, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that Midwest Generation had one week to figure out how to clean up its Fisk Generating Station and Crawford Generating Station plants, either by installing pollution controls or by converting to a less polluting fuel. If Midwest doesn't broker a deal by then, Emanuel's City Council allies will push an ordinance (the Chicago Clean Power Ordinance) that could force the Crawford and Fisk plants to shut down within the next two years.

In Fall 2011, Emanuel's office considered a deal floated by Midwest Generation that would have shut down the coal plants in return for a long-term contract to buy electricity from a wind farm the company owns in northwest Illinois. But House Speaker Michael Madigan reportedly scuttled the idea, forcing the city, company, and others back to the negotiating table.

Ald. George Cardenas, 12th, chairman of the Health and Environmental Protection Committee, said he is ready to call a hearing in March 2012 on the proposed ordinance if the city and company fail to resolve the dispute.[22]

Reports

2006 Mercury report

The 2006 Illinois PIRG report, "Risky Fishing: Power Plant Mercury Pollution and Illinois Sport Fish" looks at tissue mercury concentrations of 804 fish samples from the Illinois Fish Contaminant Monitoring Program (IFCMP) and 23 fish samples from U.S. EPA’s National Lake Fish Tissue Study (NLFTS). The report found that 39% of Illinois fish samples exceeded the 0.13 ppm safe mercury limit for women of average weight who eat fish twice per week, while 59% of the fish samples exceeded the safe mercury limit for children of average weight under age three who eat fish twice a week; 50 percent of fish samples exceeded the safe limit for children ages three to five years; and 34 percent of samples exceeded the safe limit for children ages six to eight years.

A third of all mercury released in Illinois - 2,283 pounds - came from six grandfathered plants owned by Midwest Generation, according to 2002 state EPA data.[23] In 2006, the company made an agreement with the state to begin lowering mercury emissions.[24]

2010 Clean Air Task Force Study

A 2010 Clean Air Task Force estimated that fine particle pollution from Fisk and Crawford contribute to more than 40 deaths, 720 asthma attacks and 66 heart attacks annually.[25]

2010 report: Chicago's Fisk and Crawford Plants cost public up to $1 billion since 2002

On October 20, 2010, the Environmental Law and Policy Center released a study, ELPC Report Finds Chicago Coal Plants Caused Up To $1 Billion in Health Damages Since 2002 finding Midwest Generation's Crawford and Fisk coal plants in Pilsen and Little Village may have caused between $750 million and $1 billion in public health related damages since 2002. The plants operate on equipment built between 1958 and 1961, largely exempted from the Clean Air Act regulations of 1977. The report uses data culled from various sources such as a 2010 National Research Council study (which found that particulate matter from the Fisk and Crawford coal plants in Chicago created $127 million in health and related damages in 2005), and the Harvard School of Public Health’s Illinois Power Plant Study.[26]

According to the study, the plants cause more than $127 million in 2010 dollars in health damages yearly, based on 2005 emissions. Particulate matter released into the air causes cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, heart attacks, premature death and more. A spokeswoman for Midwest Generation told WBEZ that there is no tie between the plants and public health, putting the blame on traffic instead. The ELPC supports the Chicago Clean Power ordinance, which would require Midwest Generation to reduce PM pollution within 4 years. Howard Learner, executive director for the ELPC, said via press release “Soot and smog from Chicago coal plants is making us sick and costing us millions. Cleaning them up is the right thing to do for our health, our environment and our economy.”[26]

2010 report: Waukegan cost public up to $620 million since 2002

According to a 2010 report by the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC), "Midwest Generation’s “Unpaid Health Bills”: The Hidden Public Costs of Soot and Smog From the Waukegan Coal Plant in Illinois Total $520 - $690 Million Since 2002" pollution from Midwest Generation’s Waukegan Generating Station has caused between $520 million and $690 million in public health damages since 2002. The report uses data from the National Research Council finding that particulate matter (soot), from the Waukegan coal plant creates about $86 million in health and related damages annually. The Waukegan coal plant is located on the Lake Michigan shoreline in Northeastern Illinois, about 40 miles north of Chicago and 50 miles south of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. More than 67,000 people live within three miles of the plant. The plant still operates using equipment built between 1958 and 1963, and Midwest Generation, the plant’s owner, has not installed modern pollution controls such as scrubbers.[27]

ELPC’s report examines recent scientific research on the health effects of soot and smog pollution from coal plants. Numerous authoritative scientific panels have found that particulate matter pollution from coal plants harms public health, causing various health detriments including premature death, heart attacks, and cardiovascular and respiratory disease. The personal hardship and economic impact of these health problems is borne by the public. In 2006, after a public advocacy campaign by ELPC and other health and environmental and children’s advocacy groups, the Illinois Pollution Control Board ordered Midwest Generation to reduce toxic mercury emissions at Waukegan and other coal plants in Northern Illinois. A related order requires Midwest Generation to reduce sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide pollution at the Waukegan coal plant by the end of 2014.[27]

2011 Report: Crawford, Fisk, and Waukegan top environmental justice offenders

The 2011 report, "Coal Blooded: Putting Profits Before People in Illinois" by Adrian Wilson, NAACP, Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO), and the Indigenous Environmental Network used an algorithm combining levels of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions together with demographic factors in order to calculate an environmental justice score for the 431 coal-fired power plants in the U.S. Twelve plants were ranked the top environmental justice offenders, producing a total of 48,582 Gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity in 2005 — only 1.2% of total U.S. electricity production, yet affecting a total of 1.78 million Americans who live within 3 miles of one of the 12 plants, with an average per capita income of $14,626 (compared with the U.S. average of $21,587), and 76.3% people of color.

The plants were:

  1. Crawford Generating Station, Chicago, IL (Edison International)
  2. Hudson Generating Station, Jersey City, NJ (PSEG)
  3. Fisk Generating Station, Chicago, IL (Edison International)
  4. Valley Power Plant, Milwaukee, WI (Wisconsin Energy)
  5. State Line Plant, Hammond, IN (Dominion)
  6. Lake Shore Plant, Cleveland, OH (FirstEnergy)
  7. Gallagher Generating Station, New Albany, IN (Duke Energy)
  8. Bridgeport Harbor Station, Bridgeport, CT (PSEG)
  9. River Rouge Power Plant, River Rouge, MI (DTE Energy)
  10. Cherokee Station, Commerce City, CO (Xcel Energy)
  11. Four Corners Steam Plant, Niinahnízaad, NM (Arizona Public Service Company)
  12. Waukegan Generating Station, Waukegan, IL (Edison International)

Coal lobbying

Midwest Generation is a member of the American Coal Ash Association (ACAA), an umbrella lobbying group for all coal ash interests that includes major coal burners Duke Energy, Southern Company and American Electric Power as well as dozens of other companies. The group argues that the so-called "beneficial-use industry" would be eliminated if a "hazardous" designation was given for coal ash waste.[28]

ACAA set up a front group called Citizens for Recycling First, which argues that using toxic coal ash as fill in other products is safe, despite evidence to the contrary.[28]

Citizen action

Midwest Generation's Crawford and Fisk Plants and Environmental Justice

Resident and nurse Kimberly Harrington comments on the health effects of the plant

Both Midwest Generation's Crawford Generating Station and Fisk Generating Station are located on the lower west side of Chicago, in the predominantly Latino areas of Pilsen and Little Village, as well as nearby neighborhoods with a significant population of African Americans, raising issues around environmental justice and coal. Within miles of each plant are homes, parks, schools, etc. Crawford and Fisk are among over 100 coal plants near residential areas.[29]

Citizen groups rally EPA to file suit against Midwest Generation

In July 2009, five groups of environmental and public health advocates announced their intent to file a Clean Air Act lawsuit against Edison International subsidiary Midwest Generation. The groups say Midwest's six Illinois power plants are decades old and do not have the appropriate pollution controls according to EPA standards. Specifically, the lawsuit will focus on opacity violations, a measurement of the light blocked by particulate matter from smokestacks at Midwest's Crawford, Fisk, Joliet, Powerton, Waukegan, and Will County stations.

The concerned groups include Citizens Against Ruining the Environment, the Environmental Law and Policy Center, Natural Resources Defense Council, the Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago, and Sierra Club. The six power plants in question are located in working class and minority neighborhoods, raising concerns about environmental justice. The groups expect to file suit in 60 days, unless Midwest Generation comes into compliance or stops operating, or unless the EPA takes other measures.[30] Shannon Fisk, an attorney for NRDC, described Midwest's Fisk and Crawford plants as, "two dinosaurs in the middle of a large city. They should have cleaned up decades ago. Running those plants is inexpensive for the company, but it's very expensive for public health."[10] A 2001 study by a professor at the Harvard University School of Public Health found that particulate matter from the Fisk and Crawford plants contributes to 41 deaths, 550 emergency room visits, and 2800 asthma attacks each year.[31]

On August 28, 2009, less than a month after the lawsuit was filed, the EPA, Department of Justice, and state of Illinois announced that they would also be filing suit against Midwest Generation for illegal emissions of particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide.[32]

October 24, 2009: Activists protest outside Fisk Generating Station in Chicago, IL

Hundreds of activists gathered to march and rally in front of the Fisk Generating Station in Chicago, IL to observe an international day of action on climate change.[33] At the protest, eight people locked arms and sat down in front of the power plant. All eight were issued citations.[34]

Activists protest outside Fisk Generating Station on October 24, 2009.

October 13, 2010: Protesters rally to shut down Chicago Power Plants

On October 13, 2010 protesters in Chicago rallied to shut down Chicago's two coal-fired power plants, Fisk Generating Station in Pilsen and Crawford Generating Station in Little Village. Midwest Generation, a subsidiary of Edison International, owns the plants.

“This is the year we’re going to end coal in Chicago,” said Chicago author Jeff Biggers.

Greenpeace and the Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization (PERRO) organized the Chicago Clean Power Coalition rally at Alivio Medical Center.

A group of people in T-shirts lettered with “Quit Coal” and wearing green cardboard oxygen masks stood outside in the hot sun to listen to speakers explain why clean air is so important. “This is the year the next governor and the next mayor will announce that these [plants] are shutting down,” Biggers said.

The coalition sought to raise awareness about pollution that is emitted from both power plants, which are located in dense urban areas.[35]

November 1, 2010: Day of Dead procession held in Chicago

On November 1, 2010 Chicago activists held a "Day of the Dead" rally in "remembrance of the lives lost" to the pollution caused by the Fisk Generating Station and Crawford Generating Stations. Author Jeff Biggers wrote:

More than 66 premature deaths, 104 heart attacks, and thousands of asthma attacks and cases of chronic bronchitis--that is the tragic symbol at the altar of Chicago's decrepit coal-fired plants in the Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods.

"The public can't afford the huge health costs from the Fisk and Crawford coal plants in Chicago neighborhoods," said Howard Learner, Executive Director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center, on the release of the organization's report last month. "It's time for Midwest Generation to be socially responsible and clean them up or shut them down."[36]

May 2011: Activists stop coal barge, climb on coal plant

I Can't Sit By: Stopping Coal in Chicago

On May 24, 2011, Greenpeace activists stopped a coal barge from the Pulaski Bridge, displaying a banner on the river bridge that said “We can stop coal” and “Nosotros podemos parar el carbόn.” Dangling above the water, the presence of the activists prevented three coal barges from passing, according to the activsts. From the bridge, the activists proclaimed to Edison International that people have the right to choose clean energy for their communities. They demanded that Edison International shut down the Fisk and Crawford plants. In spring 2011, the Chicago City Council failed to vote on the Chicago Clean Power Ordinance, which would have forced the plants to clean up or shut down.[37]

In a separate action the same day, Greenpeace activists climbed the smokestack of the Fisk Generating Station and unfurled yellow banners with "Quit Coal" printed on them. After several hours atop the structure, several of the climbers rappelled down the smokestack and painted the same words on it. The eight activists were arrested and released on bail on May 26, and are scheduled to appear in court on July 1, 2011. They are charged with felony criminal damage to property.[38]

Contact details

Midwest Generation, LLC
One Financial Place
440 South LaSalle Street, Suite 3500
Chicago, Illinois 60605
Phone: (312) 583-6000

Article and resources

References

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  3. "Midwest Generation, Governor Agree On Long-Range Emissions Reduction Plan" BusinessWire, 2008.
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  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Kari Lydersen, "'The Clunkers of the Power-Plant World': Old Coal-Fired Facilities Could Escape New Rules," Washington Post, August 17, 2009.
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  13. Robin Bravender, "Judge dismisses NSR allegations against 5 Ill. power plants" Greenwire, March 15, 2010.
  14. "Midwest Generation 2010 Annual Report" Edgar Online, filed 2011.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 "United States Files Clean Air Act Complaint Against Homer City Power Plant " Bonnie Smith, U.S. EPA, January 6, 2011.
  16. "NJ sues Pa. coal plant" Wall Street Journal, Feb. 11, 2011.
  17. Cassandra Sweet, "Edison Intl Estimates $1.2B Plant Cleanup Cost" Wall Street Journal, August 5, 2010.
  18. Michael Hawthorne, "Power company holds off on cleaning up Chicago-area coal plants" Chicago Tribune, Feb. 21, 2011.
  19. "2010 Annual Report" Edison International, accessed November 14, 2011.
  20. "Poll: Chicagoans want City to reduce coal plant pollution" Gazette, Dec. 1, 2011.
  21. Michael Hawthorne, [http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-greenhouse-gases-20120122,0,6304228.story "Coal plants dominate list of Chicago's biggest polluters," Chicago Tribune, Jan. 22, 2012.
  22. Hal Dardick and Michael Hawthorne, "Emanuel gives coal plant operator an ultimatum to clean up," Chicago Tribune, Feb. 23, 2012.
  23. "Risky Fishing: Power Plant Mercury Pollution and Illinois Sport Fish" Illinois PIRG report, 2006.
  24. "Midwest Generation, Governor Agree On Long-Range Emissions Reduction Plan" BusinessWire, 2008.
  25. "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010
  26. 26.0 26.1 "Study Says Coal Plants Cost Chicagoans Millions In Health Damages" Chicagoist, Oct. 20, 2010.
  27. 27.0 27.1 "Report Finds Midwest Generation’s Waukegan Coal Plant Caused Up To $690 Million in Health Damages Since 2002" Environmental Law & Policy Center, Nov. 16, 2010.
  28. 28.0 28.1 Coal-Fired Utilities to American Public: Kiss my Ash DeSmogBlog.com & PolluterWatch, October 27, 2010.
  29. Jacqui Patterson, "Day VIII Clearing the Air Road Tour—Hammond, IN—State Line Plant" NAACP Climate Justice Initiative, April 21, 2010.
  30. Terry Bibo, "Illinois coal plants are being threatened with lawsuit," Journal Star, July 29, 2009.
  31. Jonathan I. Levy, et al., "Using CALPUFF to evaluate the impacts of power plant emissions in Illinois: Model sensitivity and implications," Atmospheric Environment 36 (2002): 1063–1075.
  32. Henry Henderson, "You're Not the King of Me: Midwest Gen Runs Afoul of the Clean Air Act," Huffington Post, August 29, 2009.
  33. "Protest at Fisk Generating Station," Chicago Tribune, October 24, 2009.
  34. "8 cited during anti-coal protest," Chicago Breaking News Center, October 24, 2009.
  35. "Protestors rally to shut down Chicago's coal plants" Clarisa Ramirez, Medill Reports, October 13, 2010.
  36. "At the Altar of Coal-Fired Plants: Chicago's Day of the Dead Procession Calls for Clean Energy Leadership" Jeff Biggers, Huffington Post, November 1, 2010.
  37. ceaton, "BREAKING: Greenpeace activists stop coal shipment at Pulaski Bridge in Chicago" Greenpeace, May 24, 2011.
  38. Dick Johnson and BJ Lutz, "Anti-Coal Activists Released from Jail" NBC Chicago, May 27, 2011.

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