Mission & Values

We believe that southeast Chicagoland will one day serve as a national and international model for the integration of industrial, residential and natural areas into a productive, green, and environmentally sustainable urban community.

The SETF Mission

Our mission is to inform and educate all members of the southeast Chicagoland community, including residents, businesses, and leaders, in areas related to the improvement of our neighborhood’s environment. We strive for sustainable development of residential facilities, environmentally friendly and green business practices, and preservation of natural areas that improve the quality of life in the Calumet region.

The SETF Vision

We believe that southeast Chicagoland will one day serve as a national and international model for the integration of industrial, residential and natural areas into a productive, green, and environmentally sustainable urban community.

The SETF Values

The statements below are used by the leaders of the Task Force to guide our actions. They are the basic elements of how we go about our programming and decision making process.

        • We exist to improve the environmental health of the Calumet region
        • Our actions locally have a broader impact
        • Be in partnership with all members of the community
        • Embrace environmental justice
        • We value accountability
        • We value sustainable growth
Pollution Prevention

SETF has a vision that every Calumet region facility will utilize the most energy efficient processes, generate the least possible pollution and waste, and hire local residents, making the region a model of clean industry for the nation and world to emulate.

To achieve this ambitious vision, our pollution prevention program, colloquially known as “P2” is implemented in part through our Good Neighbor Dialog and our Watchdog Program. By forming working relationships with industry and maintaining active dialog among all Calumet area stakeholders, we can more effectively promote P2 opportunities.

Core Programming
        • Environmental Education
          • Tours
          • Monthly workshops and activities
        • Pollution Prevention
          • Watchdog
          • Advocacy
        • Open Space Preservation
          • Green Economic Industrial Corridor
          • C.A.R.E.

Environmental justice principles

We call on local elected officials, community leaders and business partners to be educated on the fundamentals of environmental justice and advocate for sustainable development in our community.

The Southeast Chicago Environmental Justice Principles

Greater Southeast Chicago has the potential to be a hub for post-industrial innovation and community based revival for a new industrial revolution that includes clean energy and green jobs. This document acts as a follow up to the Calumet Area Land Use Plan, Millennium Reserve Vision, and Calumet Area Vision, while integrating principles of environmental justice developed by USEPA. We call on local elected officials, community leaders and business partners to be educated on the fundamentals of environmental justice and advocate for sustainable development in our community based on the following principles:

Environmental
  • Anticipation and preventions of potential environmental degradation: The response of the past – “react and cure” – has proved to be economically, socially and environmentally expensive We have had to fix problems after the occur through pollution control and regulation. We need to shift to a philosophy which “anticipate and prevents” environmental degradation at the planning stages of our development projects (USEPA Principles of Sustainability).
  • Respect for nature and the rights of future generations: Our economy depends not only on the continued flow of resources but also on the protection and enhancement of ecosystems and habitats. The decision-making process must consider not only today’s needs, but the needs of future generations by ensuring that a long enough horizon is used in the evaluation process (USEPA Principles of Sustainability).
  • Maximize conservation and develop local renewable resources: Maximize the use of conservation technology and practices, reduce the use of non-renewable resources, and develop local renewable energy, water and material resources while also promoting energy and resource efficiency.
  • Protect, preserve and restore the natural environment: Acknowledge that undisturbed natural beauty enriches and that the natural environment is basic for a healthy world, a healthy economy and a healthy society.
  • Healthy communities: Clean development will keep our air, land and water clean while creating local family-sustaining jobs and economic prosperity through organized labor, job training programs and community partnerships.
Justice (Per U.S. Executive Order 12898)
  • Integrate considerations of economic development with environmental justice: Executive Order 12898 defines Environmental Justice as: “The fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. Fair treatment means that no group of people, including racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic groups should bear a dispropartionate share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, municipal, and commercial operations or the execution of federal, state, local, and tribal programs and policies.”
  • Low income communities and communities of color: Lowe income communities and communities of color suffer disproportionately from the effects of dirty industry; we have an obligation to reduce the harm caused by industry, especially in these communities.
  • Economic opportunity for community residents and local businesses: Residents should have the right to obtain jobs and contracts from the industry that resides in their community and local businesses should prosper.
Alliance
  • Community Participation: Decisions about industry should be transparent and require community participation in the decision making process. Community members have a right to be partners in decisions about industry in their community.
  • Equitable benefits: Any industry entering this area must negotiate a community benefits agreement with the community. A community benefits agreement, or CBA, is a private contract between a developer and a community coalition that sets forth the benefits that the community will receive from the development. Common benefits include living wages, local hiring and training programs, affordable housing, environmental remediation, and funds for community programs. CBAs ensure that development is equitable and benefits all members of the community, eventually contributing to stronger local economies, livable neighborhoods, and increased participation in the planning process.
 
 

History of SETF

The Southeast Environmental Task Force (SETF) was formed in 1989 by Marian Byrnes as a coalition of 30 grassroots organizations working together to oppose a garbage incinerator proposed for the former Wisconsin Steel site at 106th Street and Torrence Avenue.

The organization continues to be vitally important in the perpetual struggles necessary to strike a balance between economic life, human welfare, and the environment—struggles that define the Calumet Region.

  • 1989

    SETF is founded by Marian Byrnes

  • 1992

    Successfully fought off conversion of Lake Calumet into airport

  • 1993

    National Park Service Feasibility Study which determines most of the natural resources had been drastically changed and due to existing contamination would not be added to the national park system.

  • 1994

    Opposed co-disposal landfill at O’Brien Lock

  • 1994

    Closed CWM incinerator @ 117th & Stony

  • 1998

    Participated in no napalm in our cement kilns

  • 2001

    2001 Calumet Initiative which restored and enhanced open space, as well as revitalized economic opportunities

  • 2002

    Calumet Area Land Use Plan

  • 2002

    Calumet Ecological Management Strategy Phase 1 Sites

  • 2003

    Marian R. Byrnes Natural Area Dedicated

  • 2004

    Calumet Design Guidelines

  • 2005

    Landfill moratorium extended to 2025

  • 2005

    Calumet Open Space Reserve Plan

  • 2012

    Bald Eagle nest found by Carolyn Marsh scraps CPD project for a 33 acre open air firing range

  • 2012

    Millennium Reserve Plan enacted which restored and enhanced open space and revitalized economic opportunities

  • 2014

    Closed Stateline Coal Power Plant

  • 2015

    Beemsterboer discontinues illegal storage of Petcoke, KOCH discontinues storage of Petcoke at their South facility