General Iron Owner Sues Chicago Over Operating Permit, Seeking $100M

The owner of a metal-shredding facility is asking a federal court to force the city of Chicago to issue a permit that would allow the company to open a facility in a Southeast Side neighborhood.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced this month that the city wouldn't issue an operating permit to Southside Recycling until an environmental assessment could be completed. The decision was made at the request of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

“The city’s failure to issue the permit to Southside Recycling has caused significant and potentially permanent damage to Southside Recycling’s business,” the company said in its lawsuit filed Monday.

Southside Recycling, formerly known as General Iron, also alleged that the city violated its constitutional rights as a landowner. It asserted that by not issuing a final permit to operate on its own land, the city has taken the value of Ohio-based Reserve Management Group’s property without just compensation.

The suit seeks more than $100 million in damages.

Opponents have said permitting the facility, which would chop junked automobiles, used appliances and other metallic waste, at East 116th Street and the Calumet River would amount to environmental racism because it would move a polluting business from Lincoln Park, a white, wealthy neighborhood, to a Latino-majority community.

Last month, a federal judge ruled against plaintiffs in a lawsuit seeking to bar the opening of the facility. U.S. District Court Judge Mary Rowland said she wouldn’t prevent the city from issuing a final permit to Southside Recycling because residents couldn’t prove racial discrimination was involved in the move.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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