Category Archives: Press

SUN-TIMES: CTU President Karen Lewis blasts metal shredder site across from Pilsen school

As reported today by the Sun-Times, our thanks go out to CTU President Karen Lewis for her well-placed concern for the health and safety of the children at Juarez H.S. and the community at large posed by the just-approved metal shredder set to arrive just across the street:

CTU President Karen Lewis blasts metal shredder site across from Pilsen school

BY DAN MIHALOPOULOS Staff Reporter February 27, 2014 5:23PM

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis injected herself into a long-running neighborhood zoning fight on Thursday, alleging students at a public high school would face danger from a newly approved metal shredder in Pilsen.

On Friday, a city panel endorsed the plan, which also was backed by Ald. Danny Solis (25th). Lewis said she was concerned because the shredder site is close to Benito Juarez High School.

“That ‘s an environmental hazard for the students and the people who work in that building and should not be tolerated,” she said. “It’s right across the street from Juarez.”

She also pointed out that the Internal Revenue Service last year raided the Bridgeport headquarters of Acme Refining­. That’s at the same address given to city officials by Brett Baron, a 50 percent investor in the Pilsen plant. Baron has said he has no ownership stake in Acme, where he works in the family business. Continue reading

PERRO News Release on Chicago Helicopter Express: Sonic Assault

PERRO’s Co-Release:

Chicago Helicopter Express: Sonic Assault on Chicago’s Near South Side

February 17, 2014

Noise Free America
For immediate release

Jerry Mead Lucero

Ted Rueter

Chapel Hill: Chicago Helicopter Express has won this month’s Noisy Dozen award from Noise Free America for proposing a $12.5 million helipad, to be located in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago’s Near South Side. The facility would include “helicopter landing and departure pads, a water taxi dock, and observation deck. The company’s helicopters would fly at 1,300 feet and mostly follow flight paths toward Lake Michigan along the nearby expressways.” The facility would serve as a launching pad for chartered flights and aerial tours.

In reality, the proposed heliport would be a sonic assault on the Pilsen neighborhood–which already experiences excessive noise. The Chicago city council recently approved a “vertiport” helicopter facility on a vacant 10-acre lot near Wood Street and 15th Street, close to Stroger Hospital. If the new heliport is approved, the Pilsen neighborhood would be surrounded by helicopter noise. Continue reading

PERRO launches Saturday morning Environmental Justice Training Program Jan. 25th…

YCAP Youth Flyer - jerry edits-page-0

PERRO is very excited about the launch of our long planned Environmental Justice (EJ) Training Program! This program invites both local youth and adults to learn about EJ principals, learn how to conduct scientific sampling in the community for various pollutants, and how to apply this knowledge to solving environmental problems in our community. The program is a joint effort of PERRO and the Field Museum’s Earthforce environmental education program.

Sessions will be held every Saturday, starting Jan. 25th, from 10 AM until 12:00 PM at Lozano Leadership Academy (corner of Blue Island Ave. and Western Ave. – exact room and building location to be announced). We expect the program to wrap up in June.

Would you like to be part of this new exciting environmental education program? Would you like to learn more about the environmental justice movement? Would you like to learn how to conduct soil, air and water tests? Would you like to investigate potential environmental problems in the community? Here is your chance.

Though the bulk of participants will be local high school students, we have limited openings for others who would also like to participate. All are encouraged to apply.
If you are interested, contact program coordinator Stephanie Dunn for more info at….
(312) 768-9949 or


PERRO celebrates Loewenthal Site clean up with new US EPA chief Gina McCarthy…

Yesterday members of PERRO meet with the newly appointed Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy.  We discussed the ongoing partnership between PERRO and the U.S. EPA to tackle several contaminated sites in the Pilsen community and several area sources of pollution.  PERRO members expressed their concern about the high levels of lead in soil throughout the community; in particular at homes and properties near the H. Kramer and Co. brass smelter at 1345 W 21st St. and along the railroad tracks owned by BNSF on Sangmon St.  But much of the event was meant to celebrate the success of the remediation at the Loewenthal site at 947 W. Cullerton St. which PERRO drew attention to in November of 2012 and which the US EPA clean up this past Summer.  For press reports of the meeting, see the following links…,0,4935975.story

The following video by CAN-TV is of a press conference held jointly by PERRO and the US EPA in June at the beginning of the Loewenthal site clean up…

PERRO hosts successful public forum with US EPA…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPERRO organized a very successful public forum with Region 5 of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Tuesday evening at the Walsh School.  The purpose of the forum was to inform Pilsen residents about several contaminated sites in the Pilsen community which PERRO and the EPA are working together to see are remediated.  Another purpose was to release to the public the results of tests conducted by the EPA over the past several months in the community at PERRO’s urging.

Nearly a hundred residents of the Pilsen community attended the forum.  Tables were set up to provide attendees info on the following sites… Continue reading

H. Kramer Settles with Government – will install new pollution controls

For Press Inquiries, please call Dorian Breuer at 773 809 3817.

PERRO has just received the welcome news [also repoted by the Chicago Tribune and NPR] of the settlement between H. Kramer and the State of Illinois. H. Kramer is being forced to install new pollution control equipment that we hope will reduce the amount of lead it puts into the air to a very low level. This settlement appears to be the most significant advance in our nine year battle to get these emissions cleaned up.

The months that PERRO members spent meeting with Government officials paid off and we appreciate the efforts of the Illinois EPA, the U.S. EPA, the Illinois Attorney General’s office and the Department of Justice to advocate on the community’s behalf.

From what we can see in the decree – it looks as though the main goal of the negotiators on behalf of the community was to ensure that continued emissions of lead from H. Kramer virtually stops after the new baghouse and filter equipment is installed. If that goal can be accomplished, then this will be a significant victory for the community and a message to other polluters in Chicago and elsewhere that they must follow the law.

PERRO will study the agreement, assist in releasing it to the community and gather and send comments that arise.

PERRO is disappointed that H. Kramer refused to agree to Supplemental Environmental Project ideas that PERRO submitted in late 2011 (available here: that we believe would have helped with additional efforts to prevent lead exposure by children in Pilsen.

PERRO in the News: Tribune Covers Dangerous Lead-Polluted Site in Pilsen

947 W. Cullerton, Chicago.

The Chicago Tribune’s Michael Hawthorne has published an excellent front-page article [article on the Tribune’s websitea copy on PERRO’s website] on the delays in addressing a lead-polluted site at 947 W Cullerton and it mentions PERRO’s long-time efforts in the community to address exposure to pollution. Please see the article here or a copy on our site here.

The site has been found to be over 14 times the legal limit for lead in the soil and PERRO recently posted warning signs at the site to attempt to ensure residents stay away from the site. PERRO has also started a web-page with information about the site here:

Where the article mentions PERRO:

Members Make Signs

Lead pollution is a well-known problem in Pilsen. In 2005, a year before state inspectors tested the Loewenthal Metals site, a group called the Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization collected soil samples from several yards and parks in the neighborhood and found lead levels that far exceeded the federal cleanup standard for residential areas.

Continue reading

PERRO in the News: In Pilsen questions remain over cleanup of Fisk site

From Drew Kann of Medill Reports: “In Pilsen questions remain over cleanup of Fisk site

Drew Kann/MEDILL. PERRO volunteers at this past weekend’s open house show the local activist group’s recently released recommendations for the use of the Fisk Generation Station site.

PERRO volunteers at this past weekend’s open house show the local activist group’s recently released recommendations for the use of the Fisk Generation Station site.

Drew Kann/MEDILL. PERRO volunteer Rose Gomez makes a sign at Saturday’s open-house viewing of the activist group’s redevelopment plans for the now-shuttered Fisk Generation Station site.

Outlined in blue is the land on the Fisk Generation Station site that is available for future redevelopment, according to the PERRO report.

There is no shortage of ideas among Pilsen residents about what to do with the site of the now-shuttered Fisk Generation Station located in the West Side Chicago neighborhood.

However, many in the area seem to share one concern: site remediation and cleanup.

Continue reading