Sunday, February 27, 2011

No More Coal!

A three-billion dollar coal gasification plant that will turn coal and pet coke into syn-gas is planned for Southeast Chicago under the guise of Clean Energy.  The project will take 3 years to build and will be located on the site of an old steel mill.  It will provide 1000 temporary jobs and 100 - 150 permanent ones.  Sound good so far?  Well, here's what they don't tell you:

  • Pet coke, a by-product of the petroleum industry is dusty,  contains harmful toxins and needs a market.
  • In addition to the pet coke, 3 million tons of coal will need to be mined annually for this plant and the mining of coal is harmful to the environment
  • The transportation of the coal and pet coke will add more emissions to the air.  The gasification process will add more soot and smog.  The burning of the gas produced will  add even more.
  • Local utilities are being forced to purchase a percentage of this gas (SB 3388) at a higher rate because it costs more to manufacture gas; that increase in cost will be passed on to the local consumer - you.   
  • The process will pull 10 million gallons of our drinking water from the river every day of which only portion will be returned.
  • Locally, the plant will mean an increase in  traffic on already congested streets, more dust in the air from the handling and storage of the coal and pet coke and a decrease in  an already compromised air quality
 We depended on our local politicians to bring economic promise to our community through remediation and redevelopment of our many brownfields, and we expected intelligent, sustainable solutions.  Instead it is apparent the Southeast side is a dumping ground for nothing more than detrimental industry like asphalt storage, scrap yards, food scrap processing and more coal plants.

Water cannons trying to keep dust down on coal piles.

House siding covered in coal dust.

Coal dust floating on child's toy water table.

Lime dusting the neighborhood streets as it leaks from the back of a truck.

Pet coke and coal dust tracked onto neighborhood streets from storage yard.

Neighborhood cars coated with lime dust from processing facility.

Mounds and mounds of scrap metal ready for crushing and shipping.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Back to Nature

Last Friday, things were looking "pretty" at the Task Force office.  Nine eager women showed up for our "Naturally You" pampering workshop.  It was the perfect project for a cold, wintry evening.  The purpose of the workshop was to demonstrate healthy ways in which to pamper oneself with beauty treatments that didn't contain manufactured chemicals or cost much. 

We gathered everyday items found on most kitchen shelves and made beauty concoctions that not only worked, but in some cases were good enough to eat.  With each recipe made, we explained the why and how of each ingredient.  Things like natural yogurt, sugar, golden honey, and lemon rind were turned into gooey  substances to slather on.  The women cheerfully measured and mixed their way to beauty.  At the end, all commented on how much fun they had and how much they had learned.  They left our office content with their baby food jars full of  sugar scrub and bath salts to continue their beautification process at home.

Relaxing facial message.

Looking pleased as punch.

Using a little elbow grease to mix up the bath salts.

Sugar scrub or ice tea mix?

Sticky fun!