CHICAGO (CBS) — A federal judge on Wednesday said the City of Chicago does not have to issue a permit to metal-shredding facility that wants to move to the city’s Southeast Side.
Southside Recycling sued the City of Chicago for a permit to start fully operating at 11600 S. Burley Ave. near the Calumet River. The lawsuit accused the Lightfoot administration of breaking an agreement to help the company move its operation, formerly known as General Iron, from Lincoln Park to the new site.READ MORE: Woman Pistol-Whipped On CTA Blue Line Train In Bucktown
The city said it will not issue the permit until environmental studies can be done.
The lawsuit sought $100 million in damages from the city, and a court order requiring the city to issue the final permit needed to operate the new plant.
On Wednesday, a judge tossed the lawsuit, rejecting the claim that the city is violating the company’s constitutional rights.
RMG closed the General Iron scrapping operation in Lincoln Park at the end of last year.READ MORE: Woman Injured In Crash On DuSable Lake Shore Drive, Good Samaritans Help Her Escape Burning Car
The lawsuit claimed that when it became clear that the new operation would not get its needed permits by the end of 2020, it questioned the need to close its Lincoln Park plant, but the city responded by threatening to stop the permitting process if the North Side operation wasn’t shut down.
“At this time, the City continued to reassure SR that the City had every intention of moving the process along to award the permit in early 2021. Since that time, SR has jumped through every possible hoop, has supplied every last piece of information, has cooperated through every City delay, and has more than satisfied every permitting requirement,” the lawsuit claimed.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot put the final permit review process on in May, after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency urged the city to conduct a more detailed assessment to determine the health impacts of the new plant on the community.
President Joe Biden’s top environmental official told Lightfoot in a letter that he has major reservations about the metal shredding plant moving to the Southeast Side, raising civil rights concerns about the move from a predominantly white neighborhood to a mostly Latino community.
The letter read, in part, “Substantial data indicate the current conditions facing Chicago’s southeast side epitomize the problem of environmental injustice, resulting from more than a half century of prior actions. This neighborhood currently ranks at the highest levels for many pollution indicators used by U.S.”MORE NEWS: Board President Toni Preckwinkle Marks 11,000 COVID Death In Cook County
General Iron has a history of violations with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and Chicago health inspectors for emitting toxic fluff and excessive air emissions. For years neighbors of Lincoln Park’s General Iron have considered the plant an environmental dumping ground. The facility even had an explosion last year that rocked several homes in the North Side neighborhood.