Fight Back! News

News and Views from the People's Struggle

Climate Justice Committee rallies at governor’s mansion to demand foundry close

St. Paul, MN – On Thursday, April 11, 50 people from the Climate Justice Committee and allies rallied outside the Minnesota Governor’s Eastcliff Mansion demanding that Governor Walz and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency shut down Smith Foundry in the East Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis.

The foundry is a major source of pollution in the neighborhood and is operating under long expired permits. Smith Foundry is a major source of lead pollution in Hennepin County, accounting for 70% of all lead pollution. Toya Lopez, from Health Care Professionals for a Healthy Climate pointed out, “There is no safe level of lead pollution.”

Rally organizers called on the governor and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to fulfill their duty to protect the people of Minnesota and shut down Smith Foundry.

“A foundry would never be allowed in an affluent white neighborhood,” said Climate Justice Committee (CJC) member CJ McCormick. “It’s blatant environmental racism that it’s been allowed to stay around this long.”

East Phillips is home to the Little Earth Native community, along with many other oppressed nationality and low-income families. The neighborhood also has some of the highest rates of asthma in the entire state.

Indigenous Protectors Movement founder Rachel Dionne-Thunder said “We are fighting for the next generation. We are fighting for our children. We all need clean water, clean air and a clean way of living. We call on Governor Walz to shut down Smith now.”E

A coalition of organizers, including CJC, has amplified the call since last year to shut the foundry down after public revelations about its harmful emissions. Some state representatives are currently working toward legislation that would pave the way for a buyout of the foundry, effectively forcing a shut down.

“The governor has the power to make that happen. He’s just avoiding stirring what he sees as controversy during an election year,” McCormick said.

#StPaulMN #TwinCitiesMN #MN #Environment #SmithFoundry #CJC #EnvironmentalJustice