Tag Archives: Southeast Side

Competing visions for the southeast side

Businesses and environmentalists square off on the Southeast Side over new industrial developments, including a coal gasification plant, a cement plant, and an asphalt storage facility, Kari Lydersen reports.

Environmentalists worry about emissions and other issues, while companies promise emissions controls — and jobs.

The area once had one of the nation’s largest concentrations of heavy industry, spewing toxic pollution; it also features Chicago’s greatest expanse of wetlands and open spaces. Environmentalists would like to focus on those natural assets to drive the community’s economic future — and they point out that about 250 jobs at the three new facilities is nothing near the tens of thousands formerly employed at steel mills.

“As much as jobs are needed, some residents worry the area will again become the place where Chicago’s dirty work is done,” Lydersen reports

Cement plant for Southeast Side?

The Sun Times reports on a $250 million cement plant proposed for the Southeast Side, a prospect which Newstips noted in January.

Peggy Salazar of the Southeast Environmental Task Force tells us the group is opposed to the plant, citing concerns about plans to power it by burning tires.

She said the company has said it will employ new technology to capture those emissions but hasn’t provided details.  She adds that emissions from increased truck traffic – already quite heavy in the area – also need to be taken into account.

Along with a new bill providing ratepayer subsidies for a new coal-gasification plant in the area, it’s another setback for residents who would like to see protection of wetlands and more green industry, Salazar said


On the Southeast Side, fighting for fishermen

Media coverage of the Asian carp controversy has tended to focus on environmentalists and commercial interests, along with politicians and government officials.  But Chicago’s waterways have lots of “stakeholders.”

At Chicago News Cooperative, Kari Lydersen talks with a couple of old working-class fishermen from the Southeast Side.  Eddie Landmichl is a retired steelworker who was one of the first to sound the alarm about Asian carp – marching around the Thompson Center one day several years ago with two dead Asian carp strapped to his walker to protest inaction by the Army Corps of Engineers.

With his buddy, bait shop owner Jack Vadas, Landmichl has been out front on the threat of invasion by round gobies, on over-fishing of perch, and on the need to regulate ballast water.  Vadas habitually makes sure his customers are in touch with their elected officials on these kinds of issues.

It’s a level of grassroots activism that we don’t often hear about.

Politicians “treat him like garbage, like the court jester,” says Daily Herald outdoors editor Mike Jackson of Landmichl.  “But on these issues he’s the most serious guy in the state.”

And when they start hearing from his friends – voters who fish – politicians have been known to become more respectful.