Plant shutdown a powerful statement
02/29/2012 10:00 PM
Itís about time Pilsenís Fisk power plant, a source of shame and a blight on the entire city, got shut down.
Weíre thrilled that the city and environmental activists have finally reached a deal to shut down the plant, and most impressively, that itís allegedly being done so soon.
Details about the closure were still trickling out as our paper went to press early Wednesday afternoon, but it seems as if Mayor Rahm Emanuel has scored a major victory by shutting the plants down.
Emanuelís backroom deal avoids a messy public fight with the plantís owner, Midwest Generation, that could very easily have dragged on for years, keeping the plant open much longer than necessary.
By doing this behind closed doors, Emanuel has once again proved that his masterful negotiating skills from Washington, D.C. are effective in Chicago, as well, and this time itís all benefit for the city.
We sympathize with the environmental activists who wanted to make a nationwide splash, setting a precedent for action that could be followed across the country. But ultimately, this is the best possible solution for the city of Chicago.
Going forward, weíre divided on what we want at the site. A new, tax-revenue-generating business would be great for the city. But it could be nigh impossible to find someone to take up that big of a footprint in this day and age. A big new park for the area could be a fantastic second option, but the city should pursue industry first.
The biggest benefit of all here is that Fisk and its sister plant in Little Village, Crawford, will stop polluting the lungs and bodies of its mostly Latino neighbors. This ridiculous inequality can finally be ended.
This is a banner moment for the community and for Emanuel. Celebrate it.