Southeast Side Residents To Protest Coal Plant

CHICAGO (CBS) — Residents of the city’s Far Southeast Side plan to protest Wednesday against a planned $3 billion coal-powered synthetic gas plant.

The neighbors want Gov. Pat Quinn to veto a bill passed by state legislators, which would require utilities to buy synthetic gas from the proposed new plant for 30 years. New York-based developer Leucadia National would construct the plant at 116th Street and Burley Avenue – the site of the old Republic Steel plant.

Hoyt Hudson of Eco-Industrial Development, which is behind the plant, said earlier this year that the new facility would turn dirty coal into clean synthetic natural gas.

But residents of the Southeast Side do not agree with the “clean” part, and are concerned about the potential health effects of gasifying coal and pet coke – the toxic waste generated by refining tar sands. They say Leucadia is planning the facility in “a densely populated area already struggling with the health and economic ramifications of heavy pollution.”

They are also concerned about the environmental and economic impact of the proposed plant, and say its output would almost double the price of natural gas for the duration of the 30-year state contract.

But Hudson says plant emissions would be similar in amount to the pollution put out by the Art Institute of Chicago, the University of Chicago or Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Hudson said in January the plant would generate 2,300 jobs in the Chicago area, 500 coal mining jobs downstate and billions of dollars in tax revenues.

But the Sierra Club opposes the plant, and in January, a Chicago Tribune editorial called it a “raw” deal for some of the gas companies and said it was “rammed through the House with scant review.”

The rally Wednesday is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. at the Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph St. Among the planned speakers are retired steelworker and coke plant worker Victor Storino, student activist Robert Garcia, community leader Rich Martinez, and the Rev. Zaki Zaki of the East Side Methodist Church.

At the end of the rally delegation of children and adults from the community are expected to deliver postcards to Gov. Quinn, urging him to veto the bill.

  • R.e.Johnson

    I’ll be there!

  • Keith C

    When r they hiring – and those who complain SHUT UP!!!!!!!!!!!

  • souf side

    What are they complaining about? You people in the south side desperately need jobs. Beggars can’t be choosers.

  • Anthony I

    Thats why we dont have any income in our own state ,people complain about the pollution, but look around China has been importing there version of pollution into our systems for years, but you dumb ass people dont see that here. We can produce clean energy from coal here and keep every American happy and Employed
    Keep America and American Country lets reclaim what our forefathers worked so hard for. To make us independent, I welcome this and know for a fact this will benefit our City ten fold

  • South park Redneck Guy

    There takin our jobs.

  • Edwin

    It’s easy to say shut up and don’t complain when its not in your back yard. For those of you who say beggars can’t be choosers, does it make sense for beggars to beg for worse? As for keeping America independent, how about we do it with new innovative technologies and resources? I thought we were leaders, examples of ingenuity paving the way for the future. Why is the rest of the world ahead of us in green technology? Technology that helps make them self sufficient and creates great jobs that have a long future ahead of them. Also, don’t let them fool you with that estimate of 2,300 employees. That’s a total from the moment they break ground until the day construction is complete. At their own best estimates only about 200 of those jobs would be permanent. Let’s be a little more thoughtful and logical in the things we jump into as people and a country. We’d love jobs down here. Let’s support the south side and our country with innovative jobs that don’t expire with 30 year contracts. Let’s build a strong long lasting future for America.

  • Gotti part 4 of 14 | New York City | Southeast Side Residents To Protest Coal Plant

    […] plan to protest Wednesday against a planned billion coal-powered synthetic gas plant. Read more on CBS Chicago This entry was posted in New York City and tagged City, coal, Gotti, PART, plant., protest, […]

  • RosaJH

    Keith, Souf and Anthony: Educate yourselves before you comment! Yes, we need jobs, and a shot to our economy, but not at the high cost of air and water pollution that will end up killing us and our children. And if you were at either of the town hall meetings recently hled, you would know that most of those approx. 200 permanent jobs would be 6-figure jobs going to candidates in chemical engineering and related fields. Last time I checked, most desperate jobseekers on the Southeast side (and Chicagoans in general) aren’t qualified.

  • Olga

    The community would not be complaining if they proposed to build a windmill farm or solar panel farm. Why isn’t that an option? Because we have an abundance of coal downstate that no one wants to buy because its too expensive and too dirty. The community is outraged at the current level of pollution nevermind whats to come if this company opens shop. Did you know it will be built directly across the street of a Public High School? Tell Quinn to veto SB 3388 today if you care about the health of your children, and those who will live in so. chicago.

  • pamela from the E.Side

    Leucadia get your filthy paws of my neighborhood!! Gov. Quinn do the right thing and VETO SB3388!

  • anielle

    Contact Governor Quinn’s Office at this link,, asking him to veto Bill, SB3388 that proposes to build a coal gasification plant on the Southeast Side Of Chicago. Once in operation, this plant would increase all Illinois Residents heating bills and pollute the air. Tell Governor Quinn that we want Clean Energy Companies to come to the Southside of Chicago that operate Windmills & Solar Energy. Save lives and your pocket book.

  • Juan H

    Times have changed. Health hazards have been discovered. New [Green] technology (wind, solar & water) has evolved. We now have options. No longer do we need to live under these conditions. People need to change w/ the times. They need to adapt for the sake of the Earth and the people whom live here. People should feel socially responsible to do their part. To protect our children, to save the Earth. It is understandable that people need employment but not at a cost to our health. People seeking [construction] employment, such as union tradesmen, should take a step back and see the big picture. Although they will be employed (temporarily), is it really worth having this plant set up shop in a neighborhood surrounded by thousands of residents whom will have to tolerate the pollution for many years to come? The SouthEast side & NorthWest Indiana (NWI) is already one of the most polluted areas in the nation. This area is primarily targeted becase it zoned for such industry. History shows how minority neighborhoods have been targeted for such projects because history also shows that minorities do not speak up. NOT THIS TIME! My name is Juan and I am a proud resident of the SouthEast side of Chicago. Thank You for taking the time to read my excerpt. Please VETO SB 3388, Mr Quinn.

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