Federal officials are investigating the city after Southeast Side residents complained their civil rights were violated by a long pattern of environmental racism.
A Department of Housing and Urban Development official confirmed in an email last week to local community groups that the department “opened a complaint” to look into allegations that residents’ rights were violated under federal fair housing laws. A HUD spokeswoman acknowledged the email but declined to comment.
The groups cited zoning and land-use policies, highlighting the city’s current role in relocating General Iron’s metal-shredding operation from the mostly white, affluent Lincoln Park to the Latino-majority East Side neighborhood. The facility still needs one additional permit from the city to operate on the Southeast Side.
“Racist policies are killing our neighborhood by making it a dumping ground for the dirtiest and most dangerous polluters,” said Peggy Salazar, director of the Southeast Environmental Task Force, one of three