CHICAGO — A metal recycling company's bid to relocate to the Southeast Side hit another roadblock last week when a federal judge tossed out its lawsuit against the city of Chicago.
Reserve Management Group (RMG), which bought the former General Iron recycling facility on the North Side and hoped to move it across the city, filed suit after Mayor Lori Lightfoot halted the permitting process.
Lightfoot's decision came after U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Director Michael Regan asked the city to launch an environmental justice investigation into the possible effects of the move to a site at 116th Street and Burley Avenue in the East Side neighborhood.
Southeast Side activists consider the facility to be a successor to the General Iron site in Lincoln Park that closed on Dec. 31, 2020, after being cited for multiple environmental and safety violations.
GII, LLC, a subsidiary of Reserve Management Group, bought General Iron in 2019, and RMG says the new facility would be operated by another of its subsidiaries.
RMG was seeking $100 million in damages and also asked the judge to order the city to grant the operating permit immediately.
Olga Bautista, interim director of the Southeast Environmental Task Force, hailed the judge's decision.
"The lawsuit filed last month by General Iron's new owners, RMG, was both an attempt to fleece Chicago's taxpayers out of more than $100 million, as well as a dubious move to force the city into granting their final permit despite the recommendations of the EPA, the highest authority on environmental policy," Bautista said in a statement. "RMG's bad faith efforts continue to prove that they have little concern for the health and safety of the people in the Southeast Side. A company in an industry such as theirs that demonstrates time and time that their own profits and bottom line are their only concern further proves that any claim that General Iron would be a 'good neighbor' to the Southeast Side is baseless."