Updates on the #DenyThePermit / #StopGeneralIron Campaign - Health & Medicine Policy Research Group

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Updates on the #DenyThePermit / #StopGeneralIron Campaign

June 23, 2021

Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

Health & Medicine would like to share an update on the #StopGeneralIron Campaign we have been supporting and rallying health and social justice workers and organizations to support alongside the Collaborative for Health Equity Cook County. On Friday, May 7th, 2021, the City’s review of the permit application was put on hold, at least until an environmental and health impact assessment can be completed. Here is coverage from the Sun-Times, Block Club Chicago, and Chicago Tribune.

While this isn’t a complete victory, it is a significant win. This move immediately followed a letter from Michael Regan, EPA Administrator, raising similar concerns to those raised by Southeast Side residents who have led organizing on this front and their supporters to demand that health and environmental justice be prioritized. The letter notes, “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.”

The letter also stated, “Because of these well-known degraded environmental conditions, the siting of this facility in Chicago’s southeast side has raised significant civil rights concerns.”

This permit delay and move toward environmental and health assessments would not have happened without the years of struggle and sacrifice that predominantly Latinx, Black, and working class Southeast Side residents have led against environmental racism. Without that fight, without organizing to build people-power, the permit would have already been rubber stamped and this conversation would not be happening.

Since the City put the permit review on hold to pursue an environmental and health impact assessment, Reserve Management Group, which now owns General Iron have sued the City of Chicago for $100 million, a suit that the City is now fighting in court. The Chicago Sun-Times reported on that story here.

You can check out our May 6 joint op-ed in Crain’s on this topic here: Why Lightfoot and her public health chief should deny this permit.

Other relevant materials and information about Health & Medicine’s work with the Collaborative for Health Equity Cook County to support this campaign: