2016-12-04 CPLC Press Release

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Emmy Award-Winning National Geographic Series Focuses National Attention on Waukegan

Local Activists With Clean Power Lake County Are Featured in Upcoming Episode of “Years of Living Dangerously”

WAUKEGAN, ILLINOIS (December 4, 2016)—More than 220 Lake County residents gathered today at the Greenbelt Cultural Center to catch a sneak peek of the Season 2 finale of the Emmy Award-winning documentary series “Years of Living Dangerously:” an episode featuring the Clean Power Lake County Campaign in Waukegan.

In the full episode, actress America Ferrera follows Clean Power Lake County activists as, over the course of nearly a year, they collect and deliver petitions to the Waukegan City Council, journey to Springfield to advocate for clean energy policy, and appeal directly to NRG Energy to work with the community to transition its Waukegan power plant beyond coal.

“Years of Living Dangerously,” which airs on the National Geographic Channel, tells emotional and hard-hitting stories about the effects of climate change and what people are doing to solve the climate crisis.

“Climate change is an economic, public health and environmental issue that we have a moral responsibility to address,” said Congressman-elect Brad Schneider of Illinois’ 10th District, speaking during the preview event on Sunday. “I will work hard at the federal level to defend our progress on climate change, but we know that forward progress on climate must happen locally. I applaud the work of Clean Power Lake County in their leadership to call for Lake County to build a just transition from coal to clean energy, and I’m proud their work will be highlighted on the national stage for TV viewers around the country.”

Since 2013, grassroots volunteers with the Clean Power Lake County Campaign have asked NRG Energy and public officials to establish a responsible transition plan for the outdated Waukegan coal plant. Clean Power Lake County members advocate for a long-term sunset date for the coal plant, a proactive transition plan for impacted workers, redevelopment ideas for the lakefront site, and opportunities to bolster clean energy development in Waukegan.

“Right now, we face uncertain times for our environment, our basic civil liberties, and our future. Now more than ever, it’s crucial for communities to be organized and visionary,” said Dulce Ortiz, a Waukegan resident featured in “Years of Living Dangerously.” “What ‘Years of Living Dangerously’ captured is that our community has worked for a long time to build an inclusive, equitable and sustainable vision for Waukegan. That work is not yet done, and we won’t give up that fight.”

Clean Power Lake County recently celebrated a groundbreaking clean energy victory with the passage of the Future Energy Jobs Bill in Springfield, a measure the group lobbied for while filming “Years of Living Dangerously.” The bill opens the door for more clean energy development across Illinois and expands energy efficiency. The bill also includes provisions to boost training and opportunity for solar jobs in low-income communities—which could greatly benefit Waukegan and nearby Lake County communities.

“Burning coal on Waukegan’s lakefront doesn’t fit with Lake County’s sustainability future and impedes our ability to seize the economic potential of our lakefront,” said Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor during the Sunday preview event. “Our county can, should and will be a leader in tackling climate change, and I’m proud that Clean Power Lake County has helped win concrete clean energy policies to bring new jobs and technology to our county.”

“It is the amazing work and unwavering commitment of Clean Power Lake County volunteers that have pushed this campaign into the national spotlight,” said Christine Nannicelli, Campaign Representative with the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, who also is featured in “Years of Living Dangerously.” “We hope that the story will inspire people to get active and involved to build solutions to address climate change and to make their communities stronger.”

“Uprising,” the “Years of Living Dangerously” episode that features Waukegan, airs December 14 at 9 p.m. CST on the National Geographic Channel. Find out more at yearsoflivingdangerously.com.

About the Clean Power Lake County Campaign

The Clean Power Lake County Campaign aims to bring community members together to build a just future based on clean air, clean water, and a revitalized lakefront in Lake County. The coalition consists of Christ Episcopal Church of Waukegan, Environmental Law & Policy Center, the Exchange Club of North Chicago, Faith in Place, Father Gary Graf Center, Incinerator Free Lake County, Lake County Bike Project, League of Women Voters-Lake County, Moms Clean Air Force-Illinois, Most Blessed Trinity Parish of Waukegan, NAACP-Lake County Branch, Organizing for Action-Lake/McHenry Chapter, Respiratory Health Association, Sierra Club Woods & Wetlands Group, and Waukegan Community Church.