A recent confidential watchdog report found that Chicago officials could and should have prevented a botched smokestack implosion in Little Village, rekindling conversations about the role of industry in neighborhoods and where accountability lies when violations occur.
Little Village Residents React to Watchdog Report on Botched Implosion: ‘The System is Not Built to Protect Communities Like Ours’
City Officials Could Have Prevented Botched Little Village Smokestack Implosion, According to Full Watchdog Report
The 94-page report obtained by the city's former inspector general details lapses by the Chicago Department of Public Health and the Department of Buildings. Mayor Lori Lightfoot declined repeated calls to make it public.
A summary of the results of the probe conducted by former Inspector General Joseph Ferguson was released in January, as required by city law. However, Lightfoot has rejected calls from Little Village residents and environmental justice organizations to release the full results of the investigation into the implosion at the former Crawford coal power plant, which sent a plume of dust over six blocks of homes in April 2020.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot Rejects Calls from Little Village Leaders to Release Full Probe of Botched Smokestack Implosion
Mayor Lori Lightfoot did not respond to a question from WTTW News about whether she thought it was appropriate for her appointees to reject the inspector general’s recommendation to fire an employee of the Chicago Department of Public Health and punish two other employees of the Department of Buildings responsible for approving and overseeing the implosion of the smokestack.
The first report from interim Inspector General William Marback disclosed that Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration declined to fire an employee of the Chicago Department of Public Health or punish two other employees of the Department of Buildings responsible for approving and overseeing the implosion of the smokestack.
The final report from former Inspector General Joseph Ferguson did not detail why he concluded that the three employees should be disciplined, or whether city leaders would follow his recommendations.
It is expected to provide up to 2,000 jobs, but a new Target warehouse in Little Village — on the site of a botched coal plant demolition in April 2020 — has sparked protests among some community members.
A Year After Smokestack Implosion Coated Little Village in Dust, Environmental Justice Fight Grinds On
One year ago, crews imploded the smokestack at the defunct Crawford coal plant, sending a plume of dust over Little Village but illuminating the impact that toxic air pollution caused by industrial operations has had on South and West side neighborhoods for decades.
Three firms involved in the botched smokestack demolition in Little Village will pay $370,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, his office announced Thursday.
Chicago officials now have the power to strip multimillion-dollar tax incentives from companies that “betray the public’s trust” — but lawyers for the city have determined the new rules cannot be used to punish the firm that botched a demolition in April.
City officials would have the authority to strip multimillion-dollar tax incentives from companies that violate the city’s rules under a measure aldermen advanced Tuesday.
City officials confirmed Friday afternoon that Hilco Global is now allowed to move forward with construction.
Companies that win multimillion-dollar tax incentives to bring industrial jobs to Chicago could be stripped of those benefits if they “betray the public’s trust” under a plan set to be considered Wednesday by the Chicago City Council.
A planned demolition of a building at the former Crawford Power Plant will take place June 5, after being delayed nearly three weeks after protests erupted and the local alderman objected, company officials announced Friday.
During a 90-minute town hall Saturday, Chicago residents questioned officials about plans to demolish what’s left of the Crawford Coal Plant and Hilco Global’s commitment to the neighborhood.
The city says what’s left of the Crawford Coal Plant needs to be demolished out of safety concerns. But this time, officials promise ample water will be on site to guard against a repeat of April’s botched implosion.