The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Midwest Generation’s power plants kill 995 people a year

Dec 17, 2001

A recent study by the Harvard School of Public Health concluded that 995 people will die every year, victims of the six coal burning power plants operated by Midwest Generation in the Chicago area. There will also be 1,555 hospital emergency visits for cases of asthma bronchitis attacks. Children in the areas surrounding the power plants have double the rate of asthma compared to children nationwide.

Midwest is the same company which provoked an 11-week strike by trying to impose concessions on its workforce last summer. Midwest Generation, in turn, is owned by the California-based Edison International, the owner of Southern California Edison. This is the company which organized power blackouts last winter in California in order to double what it charges for power.

Midwest Generation says that it is not legally obliged to remove the sulphur dioxide coming out of its smokestacks which causes respiratory illness. The plants are old and are considered “grandfathered” or exempt under the federal Clean Air Act.

It’s true that the law, as well as the courts and the Congress that passed the law, do in fact allow Midwest Generation to kill 995 people a year. And that shows us what the law is all about – not the protection of the population, but the protection of profit.

In three years, as many people will be killed in the Chicago area by Midwest Generation as were killed in the World Trade Center by terrorists. These deaths could be prevented – if the company were forced to spend a good sum of money to remove the particles coming out of its smokestacks.

But don’t wait on politicians and public officials to force them to do it. They’re too busy pretending to defend us to actually do it!