The coal industry is learning to not take the Sierra Club lightly -- and we're hoping our local, state and national officials are learning the same lesson.
In one example -- just today we released a Spanish-language television ad rejecting President Obama's decision to delay long overdue, life-saving protections from smog, an acidic air pollutant that contributes to bad air quality days, asthma attacks and severe respiratory illnesses. The ad will run on Univision and Telefutura in Reno, Nevada.
Here's the text of the ad:
The cruel grip of asthma attacks tens of thousands of Hispanic children, putting their American Dream at risk.
President Obama had the opportunity to clean the air but he decided that clean air and our children can wait.
Polluters won, our kids lost.
President Obama, keep your word and protect our kids from contamination.
SierraClub.org/accion. Paid for by the Sierra Club.
Also this week, we launched an ad campaign to raise public awareness about the health risks of Chicago's Fisk and Crawford coal-fired power plants. The Sierra Club and local health and community groups have been calling on Mayor Rahm Emanuel to protect kids from asthma attacks and other health problems caused by Chicago's polluting, outdated coal plants.
Chicago is the only major metropolitan area with not only one, but two polluting coal plants within the city limits. The Fisk and Crawford plants are located in the Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods.
These new ads in Chicago will appear on the "El", in newspapers, and on a billboard. They all feature 6-year-old Peter Wasserman, who lives next to the Crawford coal plant in Little Village and is afflicted with asthma.
Peter's mother, Kimberly Wasserman, has three children, two of whom suffer from asthma. Like Peter, children living in the proximity of these plants suffer from alarming asthma rates.
Nationally, 1 in 10 children have asthma. According to the Clean Air Task Force Study in 2010, pollution from Midwest Generation's Fisk and Crawford plants leads to roughly 42 premature deaths, 66 heart attacks and 720 asthma attacks each year.
This strong group of community, health, and environmental leaders now has the opportunity to ask Mayor Emanuel to support Chicagoans and their families in their efforts to move Chicago beyond coal.
"We are counting on Mayor Emanuel to continue to stand up to these corporate polluters and protect Chicago's families," said Jack Darin, Sierra Club Illinois Chapter Director. "Mayor Emanuel has a chance now to demonstrate courageous leadership by moving our city away from outdated, polluting coal plants and towards cleaner and safer energy sources."
The Sierra Club is serious about transitioning away from dirty coal and to clean energy. Our officials should be just as serious -- and we'll be sure to remind them.
Follow Mary Anne Hitt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/maryannehitt