Outraged residents say they weren’t notified about new asphalt plant in McKinley Park

CHICAGO — A new asphalt plant set to open on the Southwest Side is facing opposition.

The new MAT Asphalt is set to open this month in the 2000 block of West Pershing Road in Chicago's McKinley Park neighborhood.

The owner, Michael Tadin Jr., who did not want to speak on camera, said he did everything by the book. He said the plant is using the latest technology, natural gas, and that there are really no environmental concerns.

But many residents are skeptical. They say they knew nothing about the plant until well after the Illinois EPA had already issued a construction permit. The silos started going up earlier this year.

Cristina Martinez calls it environmental racism. She's a part of Neighbors for Environmental Justice. The group is raising concerns about the potential exposure to harmful toxins and the impact on property values.

“I think that our community was targeted,” Martinez said.

The plant is directly across the street from a park and next to the National Latino Education Institute.