Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration and a group of aldermen vigorously defended a clout-heavy scrap yard on Tuesday, brushing aside neighbors who shared stories about noxious pollution and loud noises from one of the last industrial operations in a fast-gentrifying corridor along the North Branch of the Chicago River.
One of the neighborhood’s elected representatives, Ald. Brian Hopkins, 2nd, introduced a measure months ago to revoke a special waiver that allows General Iron Industries to collect flattened cars, used appliances and other scrap metal around the clock and operate massive shredders from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
City rules normally restrict scrap yards to operate from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
After Hopkins forced colleagues to call his measure for a vote, Tuesday’s long-delayed hearing quickly devolved into heated personal attacks from a former federal prosecutor hired by the company’s owners, and repeated interruptions of neighborhood residents by Ald. George Cardenas, 12th, chairman of the city’s Health and Environmental Protection committee.