Environmental Justice:

People Over Polluters

We are proud to announce our first campaign platform item, built together with residents over the past two months. To create our plan, we: met with local organizers who have been working on these issues in the area; attended the incredible public meeting hosted by the Southwest Environmental Alliance; and held three open community meetings to discuss this issue and others. Those conversations made it clear that environmental racism and corrupt development deals with toxic polluters places a great weight on the wards and neighborhoods of the south side - including ours.

Hold current polluters in the area accountable:

  • Create relationships with the IEPA and Department of Public Health. Ask them to inspect and monitor industry in the ward, and follow up on inspections. Update existing permits of industries near schools and parks to improve dust and evacuation plans
  • Advocate for the Department of Public Health set up PM 2.5 and toxin specific monitoring throughout the 11th ward and the entire south and west sides to assess the cumulative burden of pollution
  • Advocate for the Department of Public Health make data and statistics on health effects from heavy industry available to the ward, and proactively distribute this information to residents in their primary language
  • Collaborate with nearby affected wards (3rd, 12th, 15th, 20th, 22nd, and 25th) to do the following:
    • Propose a moratorium on new permits of polluting industries in and around the 11th ward
    • Introduce legislation prohibiting new plants from opening in close proximity to schools/daycares/parks
    • Introduce legislation that prohibits multiple plants in one area resulting in a high cumulative particulate pollution for a specific area
  • Have ongoing meetings with Southwest Environmental Alliance to continue to work collaboratively to make significant reductions to pollution our constituency is subjected to
  • Work with the Department of Public Health to notify the public about leaks and spills that impact them
  • Fight for our region to be the focus of a comprehensive study of toxins and respiratory disease and cancer rates, and to have major polluters foot the bill without input over the outcomes
  • Enforce existing industry maintenance and repair requirements, and explore other ways companies can pay to cover costs caused by their impact on the environment and public infrastructure

Prioritize environmental considerations in the development process:

  • Create a resident committee to approve new development and zoning changes in the ward
  • Create environmental and traffic impact studies for all new developments
  • Increase regulations on corporations in our ward, including ongoing monitoring air, soil, and water pollutants and enforcing penalties and fines to the corporations responsible to fund remediation
  • Say no to new toxic polluters entering our neighborhoods

Decrease pollution by making it safer and easier to use public transportation, walk, and bike:

  • Increase funding for public transportation and ensuring more regular, reliable bus and train services and expand services to underserved communities
  • Explore reduced farces, free fares, and incentives for continued CTA use with threshold models, e.g. the program in Washington, DC for establishing monthly passes when riders spend more than the cost of the monthly pass on transit
  • Increase safe biking and pedestrian infrastructure in the ward
  • Market the CTA - “fare holidays” on high-traffic weekends, free/no swipe boarding for riders leaving major events like concerts/sporting events

Our ward is surrounded by major corporate polluters who put their profits over our lives...we must tackle climate change as extreme weather makes our world uninhabitable and increases the climate refugee crisis.

Use ancillary methods to prevent and remediate pollutants in our vicinity:

  • Increase the tree canopy in the ward by adding trees on public land, subsidizing residential/sidewalk tree planting, and explore mandating trees in new/existing developments to bring down the heat index, and invest in staffing the department of forestry to maintain all public trees
  • Retrofit our schools to be more energy efficient and ensure the air we breathe and water we drink in those schools is clean, explore making our schools energy independent with solar power
  • Proactive air, soil, and water testing across the ward for lead and pollutants
  • Proactively connect gardeners with subsidized water barrels through the city program in their primary language
  • Ward cleanup program with opportunities for youth and rewards for participants
  • Add public trash cans along major streets in the ward

Support citywide measures to control our impact on the environment:

  • Take back our public utilities and putting them in municipal control with progressive rate structures and oversight over energy efficiency, including our electric grid and internet services
  • Divest city funds from fossil fuels and polluting industries
  • Re-establish the City Department of Environment, and hire staff needed to carry out our work
  • Work to modernize current industry to align with the Chicago Sustainable Development Policy and a future vision of clean energy
  • Work with representatives at all levels of government to establish a city, state, and national Green New Deal with a just transition to help workers employed in polluting industries find good, green, public sector union jobs to decarbonize the economy
  • Address the city’s failure to replace all lead pipes in Chicago as planned