A lawyer representing a South Side church has filed an emergency restraining order in federal court in an effort to stop the city of Chicago from granting a permit to a controversial metal shredding facility.
The company, General Iron, currently operates a shredder in Lincoln Park but is set to close the location at the end of the year, according to 2nd Ward Ald. Brian Hopkins.
But Reserve Management Group, the company that owns General Iron, wants to build a new shredder on their Southeast Side property.
A spokesperson from RMG told NBC 5 it has been there for more than two decades, doing similar work.
But after a series of explosions rocked the Lincoln Park neighborhood over the summer and a mysterious fire broke out at the same facility this week, South Side residents and workers have safety concerns.
Pastor Rich Martinez of Nehemiah Family Fellowship Church is part of the lawsuit filed against General Iron. His small church is located just two miles from the proposed site in the East Side neighborhood.
“They have proven that they are a danger and a hazard to their own employees and to whichever neighborhood they operate in,” said Martinez.
Teacher Roni Facen said her students shouldn’t have to deal with more air pollution.
“Are we really considering adding air pollution in the midst of COVID? The same disease that is disproportionately killing my community,” said Facen.
Attorney Victor Henderson filed the motion for a restraining order on Thursday. He’s also representing clients in the lawsuit.
“You wouldn’t see it go from the South Side to the North Side,” said Henderson.
Henderson also claims General Iron has paid off elected leaders to push permits through.
In a statement, a spokesperson for General Iron called the allegations “outrageously false.”
“Our actions under the current and prior administrations have been proper and transparent. The new operation will set the highest standard for pollution controls of any like it in the country.”
But Hopkins, who has been working to close the Lincoln Park location for nearly six years, is also skeptical.
“It seems like they can’t make this a safe operation, despite their best efforts,” said Ald. Hopkins.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot addressed the situation at a press conference on Thursday afternoon.
“We are strictly enforcing the various regulatory and environmental standards and will continue to do so. If there’s a problem we will hold them accountable,” said Lightfoot.
A court date for a judge to hear the case had not been set as of Thursday evening.