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McKinley Park News: Southwest Side Environment Team Study Parallels Reveal for Metal Shredder

McKinley Park News: Southwest Side Environment Team Study Parallels Reveal for Metal Shredder

A map from the University of Illinois - Chicago study of the industry surrounding SIMS Metal Management shows its position relative to McKinley Park and nearby industrial sites.
A map from the University of Illinois - Chicago study of the industry surrounding SIMS Metal Management shows its position relative to McKinley Park and nearby industrial sites.

The University of Illinois Chicagos School of Public HealthThe Chicago Southwest Side team that monitors environmental issues has released its study of conditions around SIMS Metal ManagementA metal shredder is located in Pilsen, adjacent to McKinley Park Community Area.

 


Business Grows Here - Space - Resources - Community

The paper Environmental Justice Conditions for Communities Near a Proposed Facility in Southwest Chicago, examines the cumulative environment justice conditions surrounding the Chicago-based business at 2500 S. Paulina St.

 


Business Grows Here - Space - Resources - Community

The state operating permit for the metal shredding business is being renewed. The company faces scrutiny from the community. This includes at a meeting at 7 pm on Wednesday, April 27, 2022 at St. Paul Catholic Church, 2127 W. 22nd Place, Chicago.

University Environment Team

The same team that is focusing on environmental justice issues across the Southwest Side, led by Professor Michael Cailas’ environmental justice study, also produced the environmental justice study. Cailas stated that the SIMS study was requested from nearby community groups and 25th Ward Alderman Byron Sigcho Lopez.

According to the study, the cumulative impact assessment approach is the only way to assess the effect of the proposed facility. It displays and tallies other industrial sites close to the SIMS location as well as notes the teams’ tracking of asphalt plants and rail hubs across the Southwest Side.

 

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The indicators of environmental justice are from [the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)]The study revealed that SIMS was located in an area with the highest EJ charts. It also had indices that reached the top percentiles of specific hazards.

Meeting Compliance

Cailas stated that the study was not focused on SIMS itself but the surrounding area. SIMS is located within a Planned Manufacturing District. This is an area where the Chicagoexpressly sets aside to industry, allowing many use “by right.”

Cailas also noted how SIMS’ status within current legal framework  including recent changes to operations and monitoring  means it is likely to get its permit reapproved.

Cailas stated that they cannot do anything legally. “They will be in complete compliance. That’s where the problem begins.

Concentration of Industry

The UIC study concluded by citing a draft of the document. U.S. EPA Strategic Plan 2022-2026This article discussed how decisions about industrial siting are made at the local, state, and federal levels. The plan stated that it is easier to locate an eighth facility in a community with seven facilities than in one that has none.

 

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Cailas claimed that “there are solutions.” “We can request the city to provide more controls.” He observed that protesting one industrial site is more effective than a policy change affecting all industries.

Recent media reports have noted that the U.S. EPA recently ordered SIMS install four regulatory-grade monitors in their facility to accurately measure contaminates. SIMS has been working under the U.S. EPA Region 5 Office. A 2018 Consent Order and Final OrderFollowing alleged violations to air regulations in 2016.

A state-wide environmental justice law would require more scrutiny of the industry, increased fees, public meetings and health assessments, and other measures. Media reports indicate that this bill failed to move through the Illinois legislature. According to media reports it is unlikely to be passed during the 2022 legislative session because of a standoff between environmental and business interests.

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