Among the more frequent topics on the Twitter feed from the marathon hearing on the Chicago Clean Power Ordinance yesterday was that advocates in favor of the measure were unable to get into the room.

Kari Lydersen, who has reported on the ordinance for Midwest Energy News and covered the hearing for the Chicago News Cooperative, reports that Midwest Generation, the company that owns the two power plants that the ordinance would cover, bused in dozens of employees (estimates range as high as 300) from outside the city to attend the hearing. This photo shows a section of the council chambers filled with the workers:

Photo by Kelly Pope via Twitter, used with permission.

Meanwhile, activists who were unable to get into the hearing were protesting loudly outside:

YouTube video

Midwest Generation has said the ordinance, which would require reductions in particulate matter and carbon dioxide, would effectively require the Fisk and Crawford plants to shut down. The two plants employ about 185 workers, only about one-fifth of whom live in Chicago, according to the Chicago News Cooperative.

Proponents countered that meeting the ordinance’s provisions by converting the plants to natural gas would actually create additional jobs.

But it’s a moot point for now, as the council has decided not to vote on the ordinance. The matter is now in the hands of a new city council and Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel, who takes office in mid-May.

Ken is the director of the Energy News Network at Fresh Energy and is a founding editor of both Midwest Energy News and Southeast Energy News. Prior to joining Fresh Energy, he was the managing editor for online news at Minnesota Public Radio. He started his journalism career in 2002 as a copy editor for the Duluth News Tribune before spending five years at the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, where he worked as a copy editor, online producer, features editor and night city editor. A Nebraska native, Ken has a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master's degree from the University of Oregon. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors.

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