EPA Launches Environmental Justice Investigation in Chicago


An aerial view shows Chicago, Illinois from the south. Steve_Gadomski / Getty Images

The U.S. EPA launched an environmental justice investigation this week into the relocation of a polluting scrapyard from a predominantly white and wealthy neighborhood on Chicago’s North Side to a predominantly poor and Latinx neighborhood on the city’s Southeast Side last year.

The investigation stems from complaints brought by Southeast [Chicago] Environmental Task Force and the Chicago Southeast Coalition to Ban Petcoke, which allege state environmental regulators colluded with city agencies and developers to move polluting industries out of gentrified neighborhoods into already heavily polluted neighborhoods predominantly populated by people of color.

“We refer to ourselves as a sacrifice zone,” Peggy Salazar, a lifelong Southeast Side resident and director of SETF, told Grist.

“The revitalization of parts of Chicago are planned, and they frame the [South and West Sides] as the accommodating communities. To them, we’re here to accommodate — not participate — in the revitalization.”

For a deeper dive:

Grist, Chicago Tribune

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