Surprisingly, the Illinois house voted overwhelmingly to support polluting the air we breathe with toxic chemicals from burning tires and give Geneva Energy, the plant in Ford Heights wanting to burn tires, green credits for doing so! We at SETF are thankful to those members of the state senate who are opposed to increasing the likelihood of asthma and other respiratory illnesses in their consituency, for on Thursday they shot down senate bill 380, keeping the air we breathe from getting more poisonous.
It seems curious, however, that many representatives thought the potential economic benefits (Sen. James Meeks thinks Geneva energy might leave the area should they not get incentives to stay in Ford Heights) outweighed the environmental risks (the Illinois EPA has cited Geneva Energy for pollution violations 4 times since 2006). Was your representative one of them? You can check the house vote here and the senate vote here. (And if you don’t know who your representatives are, check this link.) You might want to send your representative an email, asking him/her why they thought SB380 was a good idea. Feel free to ask if they think there is any merit to Illinois EPA’s investigation into whether or not the incinerator, built in a small village with a 95% minority population, vioates any environmental justice laws.
There is no doubt that we need economic revitalization in our region. To do so at the expense of the health and well-being of residents is unsustainable and unethical.