Letter to the Editor: Rethink sponsorship with Dynegy Inc.

By Taiya Tkachuk

In February 2016, the University pledged to create a campus action plan to more actively respond to the pressing issue of climate change when Interim Chancellor Barbara Wilson signed Second Nature’s Climate Resilience Commitment.

Yet, while the University is moving toward becoming a greener campus, an upcoming Illini men’s basketball game on Dec. 16 at the United Center in Chicago seems to contradict our University’s commitment to environmental sustainability. The game is named the “Fighting Illini Basketball Dynegy Shootout,” as it is sponsored by Dynegy Inc., a $1.7 billion energy production company that owns 11 power plants (nine coal-fueled and two gas-fueled) in Illinois.

Dynegy’s power plants have been linked to adverse health effects on residents in local communities, as the pollutants emitted into the air cause asthma and premature deaths. At the E.D. Edwards plant near Peoria, Illinois, Dynegy is estimated to cause 29 premature deaths, 45 heart attacks and 490 asthma attacks annually. The company has also been linked with 177 deaths in 2012 across the state of Illinois.

In Second Nature’s Climate Resilience Commitment, it is stated that “carbon neutrality and resilience are extremely high priority areas of action for all institutions and we aim to lead the nation in these efforts.” To stay in accordance with these goals, we must rethink the sponsorship with Dynegy Inc. and our team.

Taiya is a freshman in LAS.

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