A scrap metal shredder with a long history of pollution problems is moving from wealthy, largely white Lincoln Park to a low-income, predominantly Latino neighborhood that already is heavily burdened by toxic waste and other environmental maladies.
General Iron Industries announced last week that it has brokered a deal to shutter its controversial scrap yard along the North Branch of the Chicago River and merge with a similar operation about 17 miles away in the East Side neighborhood.
The move will rid fast-gentrifying areas of Lincoln Park of metallic odors and unsightly piles of flattened cars, twisted rebar and used appliances. But community leaders near General Iron’s new home are angry and frustrated about the prospect of another source of air pollution in their corner of Chicago, which has struggled to recover since the steel industry abandoned the area during the 1980s and ’90s.
“We’re tired of being the city’s dumping ground,” said Ald. Sue Sadlowski Garza, 10th, who is the daughter of a prominent steelworkers union organizer and campaigned as a pollution-fighter when she ousted a key ally of Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2015. “We want and deserve good things too.”