"From the outside, the power plant that towers above Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood looks like a sooty relic from the early part of the last century.
The Fisk plant has been burning coal to generate electricity on the Near West Side since 1903. But federal and state lawyers alleged Thursday that its internal parts -- the massive boiler, steam chest and turbine -- have been repeatedly upgraded without the modern pollution controls required under the Clean Air Act.
The noxious smoke churning out of the plants makes them some of the biggest contributors to dirty air in the Chicago area, according to federal records.
The 75-page lawsuit marks a renewed effort by the Obama administration to crack down on emissions from coal-fired power plants, an undertaking that languished under former President George W. Bush. Coal plants are major sources of heat-trapping carbon dioxide, toxic mercury and other pollutants that create lung-damaging soot and smog."