Last month, RHA released two groundbreaking new reports on lung health. The first discusses Clean Energy and Lung Health. With 2017’s Illinois Future Energy Jobs Act, Illinois is increasing investments in green energy sources, such as wind and solar, as well as energy efficiency initiatives to make better use of existing power. What does this mean for our health? RHA examines how green energy displaces harmful emissions from dirty energy sources, namely coal fired power plants and helps mitigate climate change, which comes with its own set of health concerns. This publication ultimately makes the case that clean, renewable energy isn’t just an environmental issue, but a compelling matter of public health.
In the second, RHA and collaborators at Chicago Asthma Consortium, American Lung Association, and Sinai Urban Health Institute submitted to the Illinois Department of Public Health a report on sustainable financing for in-home asthma interventions in Illinois. There are a number of evidence-based in-home asthma management interventions that are not being widely implemented due to a lack of funding, including reimbursement through Illinois Medicaid. In this report, RHA and its co-authors identify several potential funding mechanisms for in-home asthma management, including: adding Community Health Workers (CHW) as authorized providers; establish a Health Home program through Illinois Medicaid; and amending contracts with Medicaid Managed Care Organization to utilize CHW services.
Fisk & Crawford Coal-Fired Power Plants Closed August 2012.
Five years ago this month, Respiratory Health Association helped secure the closure of Chicago’s two biggest polluters, the coal-fired Fisk power plant located in Pilsen and the Crawford plant in Little Village.
Together they emitted thousands of tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) every year, forming ozone smog and fine particle pollution. Their closures have saved an estimated 210 lives, prevented 330 heart attacks and avoided 3,600 pollution-caused asthma attacks – notable health victories worth celebrating at this five-year anniversary mark.
Years of effort by RHA’s staff and advocates as well as our Chicago Clean Power Coalition partners, working with the Chicago City Council and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, made these victories possible.
Of course, once the confetti was swept up we got right back to work.
Since that time we have achieved additional air quality improvements through our clean energy policy work and by educating individuals, business leaders and elected officials about clean-running vehicles and clean construction policies. Last year, RHA helped pass the Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA), making Illinois a nationwide leader in clean energy by expanding clean renewable solar and wind energy, reducing the use of coal and enacting better energy efficiency policies, all of which will lead to cleaner air.
Unfortunately, dirty coal plants continue to operate in Lake and Will counties as well as downstate, degrading air quality across the region. We are continuing our long-term legal and policy change strategies to combat these polluters. You can help RHA achieve our vision of clean air for all: donate now and sign up for RHA’s e-advocacy team to be part of our efforts.