Monday, April 9, 2012

A Coal-Free Chicago?

Chicago has been seeing a lot of activity with the closing down of several coal plants. Late in February, Midwest Generation agreed to shut down two aging coal-fired power plants. The city's mayor, Rahm Emanuel, pressured the company to shut down after they were linked to sever lung problems among citizens.
Similarly, GenOn Energy says it will close eight coal plants in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey rather than installing pollution controls.

This movement could have a strong connection to the increase in the U.S.'s oil and natural gas industry. Recently, an article in the NY Times foretold the U.S. is moving toward energy independence from foreign sources. Over the past couple of years, the U.S. has gone from importing 60% of its oil in 2005 to 45% in 2011.
The energy independence movement has been seen by the increase in oil rigging and drilling--situations such as the BP oil spill and several oil rigs have been evidence of this.
Of course, the down side to this is the effect on the environment. The process used for extracting oil and natural gas, called hydraulic fracturing or fracking, causes a lot of damage to the surrounding landscape and has been shown to cause alarmingly detriment to to rare and endangered species in the area.
Eco-tip: water bottle caps aren't recycled--often, they are thrown away into landfills or disposed of improperly. Start recycling your water bottle caps and check out Caps Can Do, a company that recycles these caps into new equipment.

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