Group claims win over ‘dirty coal’

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CHICAGO, March 1 (UPI) — Closing two coal-fired power plants in Chicago is a sign the “dirty coal industry” is on its last leg, an environmental advocacy group said.

Utility company Midwest Generation announced it would retire its Fisk and Crawford coal-fired plants following pressure from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The company said it would retire the Fisk station by the end of the year and close the Crawford facility by the end of 2014.

Rainforest Action Network, in a statement, hailed the announcement as a victory in its fight against coal.

“The shuttering of the Fisk and Crawford coal plants pounds two more nails into the coffin of the dirty coal industry and provides even more evidence of why coal is a bad investment,” the advocacy group said in a statement.

Emanuel, in a statement, said the company made the “appropriate decision.”

Environmental groups say pollutants from coal-fired plants are a danger to human health. The U.S. government in December called on utility companies to lower the amount of pollutants the plants release.

Republican leaders have opposed legislation that would place restrictions on the coal industry. U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio., sponsored a bill that passed through the House Natural Resources Committee that would prevent U.S. President Barack Obama from enacting “unnecessary” regulation regarding coal mining.

“We are now one step closer to stopping President Obama’s war on the coal industry and the jobs that go with it,” Johnson said in a statement. “There is no question that coal is vital to providing reliable, low-cost electricity to America.”

Spencer Cameron

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