Matthew Kaplan Photography

Stop General Iron Press Conference & Rally at Chicago City Hall - 6/6/23

"Deny the permit again! Deny the permit again!" chanted protestors at a rally outside of city hall, after a press conference in support of the renewed fight to deny the General Iron company a permit to operate its problematic metal shredder at a site on the southeast side, a location close to hundreds of homes as well as a public high school.

It's been more than 15 months since the city decided to deny the company a permit to operate the shredder, following months of demonstrations by environmental justice activists from the southeast side, including a much publicized 30 day hunger strike in the winter of 202.

General Iron's owners appealed this decision.

On June 1st an administrative law judge ruled that there was no legal basis to withhold the operating permit from the company. This overruling of the city's decision came as a sharp blow to the community, who had savored a rare victory in their fight for clean air and a healthy environment.

The controversial scrap metal operation had been allowed by an earlier administration to move from its northside location, in affluent Lincoln Park, to a 10th ward site along the Calumet River in a low income and largely minority area, already burdened by years of environmental neglect.

"I'm sad to say that once again we're here fighting General Iron" said Sam Corona of ASE, continuing "it's just another chapter in the tragicomedy that is the existence of residents of fenceline communities like mine on the southeast side."

Oscar Sanchez of SETF, one of the hunger strikers against the shredder lamented, "My heart hurts, having to be here talking about General Iron again."

Alderman Byron Sigcho-Lopez of the 25th ward vowed "We will not allow the use of the judicial branch to protect corporate interest and profits over the well-being and health of our constituents. We will not allow that!"

10th ward Alderman Peter Chico didn't appear at the event.)

Olga Bautista of SETF summed up the feeling of the crowd with "We demand clean air and clean water for our community and we're not going to stop fighting until we get that!"

Mayor Brandon has vowed to appeal the administrative judge's decision. Stay tuned.

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