Chicago's two coal-fired plants to close

February 29, 2012

City Desk and Associated Press

(Flickr/Dave Knapick)
Fisk power plant in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood.

Chicago's two coal-fired power plants will shut down early under a deal between the operator, city officials and environmental groups. Midwest Generation signed an agreement on Wednesday to close its Fisk power plant by the end of the year and its Crawford plant by the end of 2014.

In a conversation with shareholders, Jim Scilacci, the vice president of Midwest Generation's parent company Edison International, said updating the two plants to meet environmental standards would be too costly. The company already planned to close both plants by the end of 2018, but environmentalists and city officials pushed to close them earlier.

Both are located in mostly Hispanic neighborhoods on the city's South and Southwest Sides, and are major sources of greenhouse gasses and particulate pollution. Activists and doctors complain they contribute to high rates of asthma and other health problems.

Chicago is the only large U.S. city with coal-fired power plants operating within its borders.