Environmental news is rarely good. More often it’s disconcerting . . . depressing . . . or highly disturbing. This week, it’s a breath of fresh air (literally) to get some phenomenal news about the near-future prospects for air and water resources here in Chicago.
As Michael Hawthorne, environmental reporter for the Chicago Tribune, writes this week, the notorious and heavily-polluting Fisk and Crawford coal-powered generating stations will be shut down earlier than projected by their owner, Midwest Generation. While the economic infeasibility of upgrading the plant’s pollution controls is the direct reason, there is no doubt that continued pressure from local environmental activists in the Little Village and Pilsen neighborhoods as well as from key Chicago politicians (including Joe Moore of the 49th ward and Mayor Emanuel) were key drivers in this decision.
As if that weren’t cause enough for joy, we also learn today that the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District has significantly reduced the projected expense of implementing final-stage disinfection processes for wastewater effluent that is released into the Chicago Area Waterway System. Installing these technologies will be done in budget rather than with a Cook County tax hike.
Read Hawthorne’s excellent report on what has become a hot water topic in Chicago, and find out why a change of leadership is sometimes all it takes to get things moving in a dramatically different, and positive, direction.