It’s mystifying to us why Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who campaigned on a promise to treat all neighborhoods with fairness and equity, would even consider allowing known polluter General Iron to set up shop on the Southeast Side.
But after community protests, a hunger strike and intervention by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the mayor is now asking a question she could have posed from jump: Is a metal scrapping facility needed in an area of the city already overburdened with a host of environmental issues?
Lightfoot announced last week that the city’s health department will explore whether the cumulative impact
of pollution in an area can be considered a factor in whether to approve an industrial operation moving to a community — particularly neighborhoods of color that are already heavily impacted.
A “cumulative impact” city ordinance could come out of this, possibly by the end of the year, Lightfoot said.
That’s a good sign of a better city approach to General Iron, though we’ll have to wait on the particulars as the new law comes together.