RIGHT TO BREATHE: 50 STATES UNITED

Ian Viteri

It wasn't until I was older that I learned about the pollution coming from the local coal-fired power plants and how it affects us.

Profession: Community Organizer
Group Affiliation: Little Village Environmental Justice Organization

Clean Air Ambassador:

Ian Viteri

Chicago, Illinois

When I was a kid, I had many friends and family with asthma, but I didn't think much of it at the time because it was so common in our community. I never really questioned why my cousin had to always carry his inhaler or why we couldn't just run around the park all day without having to take a break every ten minutes. It wasn't until I was older that I learned about the pollution coming from the local coal-fired power plants and how it affects us.

The largest local sources of pollution in our community, and the city of Chicago, are two ancient and outdated coal-fired power plants: the Fisk and Crawford stations, both owned by Midwest Generation. They are about 80 and 90 years old, respectively, and they haven't had any upgrades since the 1960's.

Now that I am more involved in these issues I meet all kinds of people who give us data and research and I now hear that Little Village is experiencing an increased rate of low birth-weight babies. I even see it in my friends as my generation reaches that age where we start to settle down. Within the past two years, two of my friends were pregnant and miscarried. Although we don't yet have the data to directly connect mercury emissions from the power plant with various birth complications, there has been research done connecting the asthma rates with the pollution coming from the plants.

The air pollution in our community is making us sick. We have high rates of asthma. Asthma vans—funded by Midwest generation—go to local grammar schools to treat children. These vans, which only go to schools that have at least 25 percent prevalence of asthma in their students, go to almost half the schools in our neighborhood.

To protect our right to breathe, our elected leaders and officials in Washington, D.C. should help ensure that old, outdated technology is replaced with newer and cleaner forms of technology. And they should look at cumulative impacts to environmental justice communities such as Little Village when they do new permitting. They should support local initiatives to control pollution, such as the Chicago Clean Power Ordinance and allow affected citizens to participate in lawsuits and government decisions.
 

All Messages: Supporting Our Clean Air Ambassadors.

Show how bad the air is around those plants: give everyone who has these breathing problems a dust mask! Seeing people of all ages in our communities protecting their breath with these masks on TV news will make a powerful statement.

Right on, Ian. Chicago, Illinois, the United States need people standing up for what's right.

This is the exact reason I turned from Republican to Democrat because I hate big corporations. People count. Corporations are thumbs down with me.

If you want, join the fight against the proposed PurGen Coal plant to be built in Linden, New Jersey. This will really spread tons of pollution to an already polluted area (besides endangering the ocean). Go to: http://stoppurgencoalplant.org or go to: Stop PurGen Coal Plant for more info.

We can no longer afford the high human cost of making the elitists richer. The cost of life is too high and as the constitution grants LIFE, LIBERTY, and the persuit of HAPPINESS, the lawsuits should go forward. This is the only way to make them take notice of the error of their ways. "We the People" must come first. This, and only this, will make the dream of LIFE LIBERTY, and the persuit of HAPPINESS, a reality for all. Noone should be forced to suffer under the hand of the wrong doing rich energy companies!

There is no excuse for this in a city like Chicago. Every big corporation has gotten TIFs, other tax breaks, special laws, etc. while the children choke on their pollution. I grew up in Chicago not too far from a chemical plant. We were not financially secure, but I got myself through law school. At 39 I was diagnosed with stage 4(d) lymphoma. A treatable, but not curable cancer. It continued this way until about 10 years later it transformed into a lethal fast growing cancer. After many rounds of chemotherapy I had a bone marrow transplant. Thanks to my doctors, I am alive. However, side effects of the disease and the treatment took my career from me and I am existing on long term disability, which will soon end, social security disability and Medicare, both of which the federal government wants to take away from us and the states are removing elected officials and putting corporations in charge of cities. It thinks it is more important to slaughter people in the middle east and to give tax breaks to the grossly wealthy and fossil fuel industry and other campaign donors than to protect the only planet we have and its own citizens. This is grotesque greed and insanity and will lead to the death of our species. Perhaps then there will be peace on earth.

We support you : )

We support.

Why our elected officials are so willing to sell away our air is unfathomable. What will it take to get them to do the right thing and shut down these life-killing energy plants and go to renewable and clean energy sources? The technology exists. We must stand up to this insanity. Thank you for being there.

I have inhaled allergen/asthma/copd... I can no longer take air quality for granted though I never really did. The world needs all the help it can get from everyone in stopping the gross pollution being wrought upon it and all of its beings. Thanks for all who take up the clean air cause!!!

I support

Thank you, Ian! I thought the City Council might actually pass the Clean Air Ordinance a week or so ago, but, no, Midwest Generation won again.

Stop the pollution. You're killing us all.

Support this cause.

We used to have a balence between the carbon dioxide we produced and the carbon dioxide that trees and other plant life absorbed. The entire world has lost a huge percentage of trees. Usually caused by some insect from a foreign country. We should be doing a world wide replanting of our trees. It would be a great summer jobs program for teens.

much appreciated!!! go green!!!!!!!!!!

Standing up for our basic right to breath is a very hard thing to do. I'm glad you've chosen to fight this fight and I stand behind you. I will continue to fight in my little corner of the world and try to at least carve out a breathable place for my children to grow up in and learn how important it is to have people like you and others and to help do something about it ourselves while we still can.

It is time to put a stop to big polluters making huge profits at the expense of the nation's health and well being! Pollution kills, and these souless big corpations who lobby to be allowed to polute even more, make outrageous profits from the death of our citizens who must breath contaminated, unhealthy air- they have no choice. Childhood asthma has sky rocketed in recent years, and this is just one examle of the harm that air pollution does. Stop the air pollution now!

Thank you. Keep up the good work!

Thank you. Keep up the good work!

Pollution kills AND big corporations profit from it. They have no soul, so how can you beat them? Republicans have actually become advocates for pollution and giving corporations the right to kill us and the eco-systems that sustain life. This is such a tragedy since there are so many alternatives that will clean the air and water while creating millions of new jobs, the Republicans won't allow it.

Good luck in the battle and thank you for trying.

Don't give up the fight.

I support you! Thank you for all that you do!

Thank you for your dedication to keeping the air clean! It means a lot to myself and my children and the future of the planet!

way to go keep up the good work

THank you! Keep up the good work!

Thank you. Keep up the good work!

The truth is things can be better and cheaper. Things have not changed due to greed and the desire of power and control. We can force change better by changing ourselves. Its harder to look at ourselves as a source of change but it's true.

We must act now to be able to breathe in the future.

props

I am discouraged that there is so much disagreement about this. Around 45 people die yearly from the pollution from these two plants. The machinery is antiquated.

Coal is certainly the cheapest source of energy, but it contains so many toxins that we simply must wean ourselves away from it.

Jay F. Mulberry
Chicago

keep up the good fight.

yeahhhhhhhhhhhh

stay true to the fight

Good Work

I worked at Argonne National Laboratory for 27 years and one of the projects I worked on was removing sulfur dioxide
and nitrous oxide from burning coal.It is possible to remove these contaminants but it is more expensive. That is why the coal companies would rather pollute our lungs instead.

Finally we have made progress and now with the new legislation we may backslide into the cesspool we lived in during the middle of the last century. Thank you for being there to help prevent this.

Thanks for speaking out!

We've made progress from the acid rain and yellow smog of my youth. We don't need to backslide, just because it would help some business's profit margin, if they could pollute.

Stay true to the fight and Bless Be

Good work

Make all the coal fired electric generating plants adopt best available technology for reducing pollution from the coal fired electric plants. Thanks for fighting for clean air.

Thanks for standing up for us! We need clean energy in America, but we'll have to fight our corrupt government to change our energy policy.

Thank you for speaking for all of us!

Clean Air is essential to all populations including those who already have medical conditions that make them more vulnerable. We should not have to worry about our air.

My husband and I support this campaign because our adult son is asthmatic and we have friends who live on the south side of Chicago who are severely asthmatic. Also, as a retired public school teacher I have had too many students who have missed precious school days because of necessary breathing treatments. Cleaning up the air in Chicago is very important!

Clean air is important because I have 2 precious Grandsons. We have to leave our future generation with the legacy of a clean earth so they don't have to suffer.

The obvious rise of asthma, allergies, and respiratory illness in my grandkids' generation is alarming! I'm so happy to see members of your generation (I'm a boomer) joining in and carrying on the good fight for our environment. Thanks for speaking up for all of us!

I fully support my clean air ambassador...We need clean energy now, before we are all dead from coal, and gas poisoning.

I march and rally to help close the coal-fired plants that are polluting the air around the Pilsen and west-side neighborhoods in Chicago, and I believe they should be closed. I also attended the "We Kicked Coal Ash" event sponsored by the Sierra Club in Chicago and testified at the EPA hearings at the hotel. Why am I saying this? Because it is important for the people of Pilsen to help themselves in an entirely different way. I see dried dog poop flying around and dusting the sidewalks and alleys in Pilsen. This delivers bacteria directly to the lungs and brachial tubes of children who breath it. It is dangerous to their health. In a rural village such would not be the case, but in the city, dog poop must be cleaned up by the people. If you see poop on the street, clean it up. Carry plastic bags to dispose of it.

I am retired, suffer with asthma and live in a small town with high poverty and high unemployment.
Our state, county and city officials put their own self interest above the health and welfare of the citizens by allowing a coal mine to be located inside the city limits.
Many of us are going to get sick and die from their decisions.
We who are unable to help ourselves need doctors and lawyers to fight for clean air for all to breath.
Thank you for fighting for a god given right of clean air.

Japan's earthquake and tsunami created a dangerous nuclear threat. I was in Tokyo. The Japanese Government is doing everything it can to protect its people from the radiation. In the U.S.A. our government gives industries the right to make us sick and die prematurely. That is sad.
Thank you for working for the safety of the people of the United States. Good luck.

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