Commentary: Stop shifting polluters around the city and develop an environmental justice plan

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When it comes to letting Reserve Management Group close its General Iron plant on the North Side and move the metal-shredding operations to the Southeast Side, we understand that Mayor Lori Lightfoot has a problem. She has to worry about keeping businesses in the city. Jobs and tax revenues are at stake.

But because this is Chicago, and because General Iron has shown its operations continue to pollute the city’s air, she also has to take environmental justice into account when considering this move. Though not confined to Chicago, environmental injustice has been endemic here. Systemic racism, in the form of disinvestment in neighborhoods where people of color live, leaves those communities less able to resist when dirty industry decides to move in.

Photo credit: E. Jason Wambsgans / Chicago Tribune

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