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Minneapolis: Rally against polluting foundry in East Phillips

By Kawakata El Ti

Minneapolis rally challenges environmental racism, demands closure of polluting factory. | Fight Back! News/staff

Minneapolis, MN – On March 20, over 30 people rallied across the street from Smith Foundry in East Phillips neighborhood in Minneapolis. A miniature factory replica named Little Smith Foundry stood in front of the “Shutdown Smith Foundry” banner. Community members expressed anger at impact of the foundry’s pollution on the community of East Phillips and Little Earth which is allowed by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA).

The Climate Justice Committee (CJC) organizers Tracy Molm and Michael Wood gathered the crowd. Little Crow Bellecourt of the Crane Clan and director of Indigenous Protectors Movement, stated, “We’re all about our community, and our native people, and also our neighbors and our allies which is up here.” Then directed his disgust across the street, “Can you hear us out here, Smith Foundry? Goddammit! We’re sick and tired of you over here!”

Adjacent to the foundry is a neighborhood Day Care Center where Allison Lind sends her two-year-old son. Lind stated that her son “has significant respiratory issues.” Lind continued, “Like many of you I’ve frequently called the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and 311 and their response has been frustratingly inadequate.”

Speakers from the East Phillips Neighborhood Institute and other groups talked about the lead emissions from the foundry, and that no lead emissions are safe for humans.

Then Little Earth Protector Director Jolene Jones stated, “We have kids with asthma. We have kids missing school. All of that is going on because of this foundry. The governor can shut this place down with a signature. We need to make sure this happens. 'Cause this about our future! Our children! They’re sick all the time.”

The Climate Justice Committee is committed to continuing this fight and is going to put pressure on the Minnesota governor, who has the power to oversee the MPCA and also support legislation that would end permits that limit oversight on polluters like Smith Foundry.

The CJC will also continue to pressure the MPCA directly and Smith Foundry. Several days before the rally the asphalt manufacturer that is next door to Smith Foundry confirmed that they were shutting down permanently because of increased MPCA regulations. Organizers pointed out that closure of Bituminous Roadways, the asphalt manufacturer, was a direct result of pressure from the community.

#MinneapolisMN #TwinCitiesMN #MN #Environment #MNCJC #SmithFoundry #LittleEarth #OppressedNationalities #IndigenousPeoples #EPNI #MPCA