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Let’s find out why Chicago air stinks

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin has called for a federal investigation of air pollution from Chicago area Metra trains and other pollution sources, following a Chicago Tribune investigation. WLS radio reports that Durbin wrote letters to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Federal Transit Administration, and Federal Railroad Administration with the request that they review particulate matter in the atmosphere around Metra trains and train stations. Run by the Regional Transit Authority, Metra transports hundreds of thousands people daily between Chicago and neighboring suburbs and exurbs.  Produced mainly by sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, soot is known to cause heart and respiratory problems.

Durbin’s letters, though, go farther than just an investigation of Metra. He also wants EPA to analyze other sources of particulate air pollution, including coal-fired power plants and automobile and truck traffic. Chicago consistently fails to reduce its pollution levels to meet national standards. Some of that may be due to the aging fleet of Metra trains, but more pollution likely stems from prehistoric coal-fired power plants within the city limits. Durbin is smart to leverage the Trib’s Metra investigation to initiate a more thorough look at Chicago’s air.

One Response to “Let’s find out why Chicago air stinks”

  1. hampton:

    Those of us who live just east of the Illinois-Indiana-Ohio coal-fired electric plants have acid rain and all the rest of it from our Midwestern neighbors. It’s high time for these ancient plants to be modernized. One can be sure that the utilities will whine endlessly but will find a way if they required to do so..

    comment at 07. February 2011

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