On Monday, the agency released a list of counties that violate EPA's tougher soot standard. Six Chicago-area counties are on the list: Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will. Two budding townships—one in Grundy and one in Kendall—are also cited, as they are believed to contribute to the wider problem.
Recent tests suggest that more effective pollution controls at coal-fired power plants and factories have already helped clean the air already, but more still needs to be done to meet the EPA's revised standards.
Some of the biggest offenders are five coal-fired power plants owned by Midwest Generation, which the EPA has a pending enforcement action against. Two of the plants are located in the Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods, while the other plants are located in Joliet, Romeoville, and Waukegan.
If Midwest Generation does not clean up its act, the state will force the company to shut down its coal-powered plants.