Competing visions for the southeast side

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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

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