Last year the NAACP ranked Chicago's Fisk Generating Station and Crawford Generating Station as two of the nation's worst environmental-justice offenders. So today the organization is praising an agreement that will lead to the closure of the coal plants years earlier than expected. President and CEO Ben Jealous says they were "literally choking some of Chicago's most diverse neighborhoods, and some of its poorest."
Proximity to coal emissions can lead to respiratory diseases, including even premature death, and the NAACP takes issue with the fact that the coal-fired plants are disproportionately located in low-income communities and communities of color.
"Though it was a long time coming, it is heartening to see Midwest Generation take the socially responsible path," Jacqueline Patterson, director of NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Programs, said in a statement today.
"The 600,000 Chicago residents living within three miles of Fisk or Crawford have suffered long enough," added Rose Joshua, president of the NAACP South Side Chicago unit. "This is a true victory for grassroots democracy — a group of citizens who refused to be marginalized and spoke up for the health and well-being of their families and their environment."
Read more at the Associated Press.