- The Washington Times - Friday, August 20, 2021

Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett refused Friday to block the construction of the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago as demanded by an environmental group.

The groundbreaking for former President Barack Obama‘s namesake library and presidential archives center began earlier this week, but Protect Our Parks, an environmental advocacy group, asked the high court to stop the construction.

The group lost multiple requests in lower courts to halt the construction of the Obama center because it is located in a public park, Jackson Park on Chicago‘s South Side.

The case went to Justice Barrett because she oversees appeal requests from the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes Illinois. Justice Barrett had the authority to reject the request without consulting with the other justices.

The activists argued that 800 trees would be destroyed around the park and affect birds.

“This wanton act will have a significant impact on migratory birds and their nesting practices, which will be accompanied by an increase in dust, noise, and a decline in air quality, compromising public health in the surrounding community. Once those trees are cut down, there is no turning back,” the group’s court filing read.

The construction of the center is expected to cost more than $1 billion.

The City of Chicago partnered with the Barack Obama Foundation and the University of Chicago to construct the library and archives building in Jackson Park, which the environmental activists say will lead to the demolishment of “historical resources, parkland, and trees.”

Mr. Obama posted a video to Twitter in February saying he knew the presidential center needed to be on the South Side of Chicago where he met his wife and where their children were born.

“Our hope is that the center will breathe new life into historic Jackson Park while delivering jobs, growth, and much more to the South Side,” he said in the video. “The center will create jobs and economic opportunity especially for South Side residents because we believe the team that is building the center should look like the community it calls home.”

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