One Student Leader's Response to New Coal Plant Standards

Chicago finally shuttered its two coal-fired plants late last year after giving in to intense pressure from local and national climate groups, like Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO).

This long-awaited moment brought relief and justice to communities across the City. Since then, residents have been reacting strongly in favor of the President's leadership and bold action in backing standards for new coal plants.

Here's ACE Youth Climate Leader Saul Rodriguez' reaction:

Q: How do you feel about Chicago finally shutting down it's two coal-fired power plants last year?

Saul Rodriguez on the runway at the 3rd Annual ACE Project Greenway Fashion Show modeling his recycled design. Saul Rodriguez on the runway at the 3rd Annual ACE Project Greenway Fashion Show modeling his recycled design.

Saul: "Every time I would pass those two coal-fired power plants, I would think to myself--'when are they going to shut down?'. I am so glad that they are finally closed. We all know for a fact that many citizens in that area have been affected greatly by those toxins flowing into the air.

I am also thankful because the plants powered over 1 million homes which are now on the road to no longer being powered by coal. I think it's time for us to use our technology, knowledge, and power to replace coal-fired power plants everywhere."

Q. How do you feel about President Obama's leadership in putting a cap on emissions from new power plants?

Saul: "I think it's great what our President is doing for the nation. He has finally taken the steps necessary to ensure that we do the rest of the job (of course not alone).

He's on the way to really opening up a lot of opportunities for businesses and corporations who are really concerned about climate change to take action, ensuring a safer future.

"Having the President taking those actions on capping greenhouse emissions on power plants shows that he wants us to take action, but needs our support. We need to support him by making sure that we actively participate in these decisions, and seriously take on other actions like divesting from fossil fuels entirely."

Saul Rodriguez, native of Mexico and long-time Chicago resident, is a 17-year-old ACE Leader and recycled fashion designer from Chicago, IL. In just a few short weeks he will be attending PowerShift 2013, the largest convergence of climate and energy-focused youth on the planet.

Leah Qusba

Leah joined ACE in 2009 and is currently serving as Deputy Director. She brings with her more than 12 years of experience in the nonprofit sector as a relationship-builder, communicator and strategic problem solver. She manages ACE’s program, campaign, communications, media, and marketing strategy.