Sens. Duckworth and Durbin Call on USEPA to Monitor Chicago Southeast Side Metal Scrappers

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Health

Sens. Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin urged USEPA Region 5 to require four metals facilities on Chicago’s Southeast Side, a heavily burdened environmental justice community, to install monitors for toxic metals and other air pollutants. In the past year, the facilities have been cited by the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) for air violations and by the Illinois EPA for failing to have required air permits. The Illinois senators are requesting that the USEPA investigate the potential contamination from years of unpermitted operations and the current, ongoing pollution from the facilities through monitoring. The request comes on the heels of the implosion of a coal plant smokestack by warehouse developer Hilco on Easter weekend that caused a massive cloud of toxic dust to spread over Little Village, another environmental justice community.
The facilities located on Burley Street are part of a business venture planning to move the notorious North Side metal recycler General Iron to the Southeast Side. General Iron has recently come under greater enforcement pressure by the CDPH since late 2019. The facilities on S. Burley Street are about a half-mile from Washington High School, which has registered the highest levels of several harmful metals in the state in previous years.  Residents are also calling for more inclusive state and local permitting processes that take into account the cumulative burden placed on the community by the S. Burley Street metals operations in addition to the proposed General Iron facility, along with the many other adjacent industrial polluters.    

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