Earth Day is a time to celebrate our environment and appreciate the air and water we need to live. At the League of Women Voters, we try to celebrate Earth Day everyday by working to make the environment safer from pollutants, by defending the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, and by standing up for people not polluters.
Recently, the League of Women Voters of Lake County was troubled upon learning that the Illinois Pollution Control Board granted Midwest Generation another variance for its coal burning plant on the Lake Michigan shoreline in Waukegan. This plant is the largest source of sulfur dioxide and mercury pollution in Lake County. Unfortunately, residents from Highland Park to Zion will continue to suffer both the health effects and health costs while the plant delays retrofitting its boilers that are over 50 years old.
Air quality in Lake County does not meet the national standard for permissible levels of fine particulate matter that is deemed "safe." Emissions can cause increased asthma symptoms along with respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses.
Just one gram of mercury can contaminate a 20 acre lake making the fish there unsafe to eat. The Waukegan Power plant emits over 100 pounds of mercury each year.
The people of Lake County deserve clean air and water. People must come before polluters! The League of Women Voters of Lake County urges residents to call local and state elected officials to find out what can be done about air and water pollution in Lake County. Let's work for a cleaner Earth Day and every day.