Lightfoot should honor feds’ request to hold off on General Iron’s move to the Southeast Side

But that’s the bare minimum. Lightfoot should deny RMG the operating permit for the South Deering site.

SHARE Lightfoot should honor feds’ request to hold off on General Iron’s move to the Southeast Side
A car and metal-shredding operation proposed for East 116th Street along the Calumet River is awaiting a city permit.

General Iron is looking to set up shop on this site at 116th and the Calumet River.

Google Earth

We’ve never liked Reserve Management Group’s plans to move its metal-shredding operation from Lincoln Park to the working-class and predominantly Latino South Deering neighborhood on the Southeast Side.

That’s why we’re glad to see the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development ask the Lightfoot administration this week to hold off on issuing a final operating permit for General Iron’s owner to operate at 116th and the Calumet River.

Editorials bug

Editorials

As the Sun-Times reported, HUD made the request because it wants to complete its investigation on whether the facility’s move violates the civil rights of the Southeast Siders whose communities are already so overburdened with toxic industries, the residents’ long-term health has been negatively affected.

HUD’s action came in the wake of a complaint filed with the agency by area community groups, alleging RMG’s move to South Deering from predominantly white and affluent Lincoln Park would be a violation of federal fair housing laws.

Are there merits to this complaint? Could be. In his letter to city officials dated last week, Lon Meltesen, director of HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity in Chicago, said the agency’s preliminary review “finds persuasive complainants’ evidence that this transfer would subject complainant organizations and the neighborhoods they represent to serious and irreparable injury.”

General Iron has been a historically bad actor in Lincoln Park, frequently sited for explosions, fires and other environmental violations.

RMG promises General Iron will do better in South Deering and boasts of what would be an environmentally safer facility, but why risk it? Particularly in an area where residents are plagued by documented cases of chronic heart and lung diseases brought about by decades of having industrial toxins as neighbors.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot could do some real good here. She should not issue the operating permit until the HUD probe is complete.

But that’s the bare minimum. Lightfoot should deny RMG the operating permit for the South Deering site.

That would be a fair and just step. And a seemingly natural one, if Lightfoot is really an advocate for South and West side neighborhoods, as she proclaims.

Send letters to letters@suntimes.com.

The Latest
El programa Bike Chicago de la Municipalidad comenzó en 2022 con el objetivo de regalar bicicletas a los residentes que tengan problemas para transportarse.
Los fiscales dijeron el viernes que las víctimas y el acusado presuntamente se encontraron por primera vez mientras se incorporaban a un área en construcción.
Los problemas también afectaron a algunos servicios de Metra, la venta de entradas en teatros locales y a comercios. La causa del caos fue una actualización defectuosa de CrowdStrike, empresa de seguridad en línea cuyo software se utiliza en todo el mundo en múltiples sectores.
A Cook County judge has been told by an appeals court to reconsider whether Kimberlynn Bolanos was mentally fit when she entered a guilty plea in 2016. A decision could come during a hearing Tuesday.
The Wienermobile and a car were both going north on the tollway when the Wienermobile struck the car, lost control and rolled over, Illinois State Police said. No injuries were reported.