CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — The Johnson Administration said a new environmental impact assessment is going to fuel major changes in how the City deals with pollution and other issues in Chicago's neighborhoods.
The report has the ungainly title of Cumulative Impact Assessment. It's a citywide project to show how environmental problems can affect communities.
It confirms what neighborhood activists have said for years: The South and West Sides bear the brunt of environmental harms in Chicago. The study found that Black and brown communities suffer the most from pollution and other environmental hazards.
Mayor Brandon Johnson said this will be a roadmap for action that will be taken with community input.
“The City of Chicago will continue to partner with our frontline communities and environmental justice groups so that they have a seat at the table where decisions that impact the environment and their particular communities are being made,” Johnson said.
Kim Wasserman, director of the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, got emotional as she spoke at the news conference. She said after fighting for 25 years over such issues, she never thought she'd hear the words “environmental justice” coming from elected officials.
Olga Bautista, leader of the Southeast Side Environmental Task Force, echoed that sentiment. Bautista said they were gratified to hear the mayor say the administration will partner with community groups
The mayor admitted there'll be a lot of work, and progress will take time — but he added that there will be change.
“In months to come, together we’re going to work to build support for a new ordinance that aims to protect all Chicagoans from the cumulative impact of environmental burdens and ensure our residents live in healthy, sustainable communities,” Johnson said.