Press Release

City of Chicago denies permit for General Iron’s recycling plant

Reactions from environmental and community organizations

February 19, 2022

Chicago, IL (February 18, 2022) – Earlier today, the City of Chicago denied a permit for General Iron’s Southside Recycling project on the city’s southeast side in the Calumet Industrial Corridor. The permit’s denial is a major victory for Southeast Side community members who have fought for decades to prevent new pollution sources and clean up existing pollution that threatens public health. Today’s action is an important step forward in charting a more sustainable, healthier future for the Calumet corridor and addressing the city’s long history of environmental injustices.

Read on for reactions from environmental and community organizations:

“We have turned a new page in the City of Chicago – we will celebrate the denial of General Iron’s permit today but tomorrow we will continue to work on our vision for a sustainable future for all the communities on the Calumet River. Thank you to all the community members for their hard work and commitment to justice and to all the ally’s that lifted up the demands of the residents of the Southeast Side of Chicago.” – Olga Bautista, Southeast Environmental Task Force Executive Director

“The Alliance for the Great Lakes applauds the City of Chicago’s decision to deny this permit. Previous research has clearly detailed the stark environmental injustices facing those who live and work along the Calumet Industrial Corridor. This denial is an important step in addressing and reversing that harm. We look forward to supporting the City and community leaders on land use and zoning reform and stricter regulations that protect the health of residents and our waters. We are encouraged that the City has shown leadership by listening to impacted community members as part of its decision-making.” – Joel Brammeier, Alliance for the Great Lakes President & CEO

“The Metropolitan Planning Council appreciates that the Department of Public Health denied this permit. This decision demonstrates that it is possible for the City to use health and environmental justice data and community input to reassess development decisions. This is a critical first step in evaluating cumulative impacts in overburdened communities. MPC will continue to support the City’s forward momentum toward improving permitting, land use, and zoning processes to center community voices and create resilient, equitable, and healthy neighborhoods.” – Darlene Hightower, President & CEO, Metropolitan Planning Council

“The Center for Neighborhood Technology commends the Department of Public Health for denying the permit for General Iron’s Southside Recycling project. We celebrate alongside the thousands of residents on Chicago’s SE side, and pledge our continued support to the community leaders who have been fighting for a healthier, more sustainable and equitable future. CNT is ready to continue to hold the city accountable to its commitment to improving health outcomes for Chicago’s most vulnerable residents.” – Bob Dean, CEO, Center for Neighborhood Technology


Media Contact: Jennifer Caddick,