Last week, children from our community joined activists who want to stop permits for industrial polluters in our neighborhood. Why? Because Pilsen and the southwest side of Chicago are crowded with factories and trucks. Some businesses are doing honorable business and are responsible. There are others who are not and who are polluting our air.
Over the past few years, members of the St. Paul Social Justice Committee have been meeting regularly with other churches, schools, community stake-holders, politicians, researchers, doctors and scientists to understand what is happening in the neighborhood. What they learned was scary.
The air in Pilsen is 10X worse than the air in Wrigleyville
There is little regulation on industrial businesses in the neighborhood to ensure that their impact on air quality is limited
There is little monitoring of local industrial businesses to ensure they are in compliance with the little EPA regulations in existence.
When COVID hit, hearings were postponed and existing permits to do business were extended.
As discussions about permits have resumed, MANY industrial polluters in the area are pursuing permits to continue operation.
This problem is massive. It involves many businesses. It involves the decisions of many politicians. It MUST involve the people of the community.
With this in mind, on April 27th at 7 PM there will be a Public Hearing at St. Paul Church, about a major polluter. Members of the community, organizations, schools and churches will have the opportunity to ask elected officials what they plan to do about this.
The children in the photos below spoke on the steps of the Federal Environmental Protection Agency. They talked of their concerns about pollution, air quality and their health. They were granted access to the office off Deborah Shore, the Director of the 5th District of the EPA. She accepted a letter signed by all of the children.
We are so proud of the young people of our community, including those of St. Paul Church. They are shining examples of Catholic Social Justice.