FRISCO (CBSDFW.COM) – Residents who arrived to protest battery-recycling plant Exide Technologies Monday don’t just want clean air; they want the reported root of the problem to go away.
“Boo! Exide get out of Frisco! Boo! Exide – we don’t want you here!”
At just 4-years old, Eli Johnson is already trying to use his voice for change. On Monday, Eli’s mother brought him and his brother to support efforts to close the battery recycling plant.
“They’re so close to the high school, the police department, my son’s daycare is right there – it’s very frightening,” Eli’s mom, Neala Johnson said.
A nearly one and a half mile radius around the plant is one of just 16 areas in the nation that does not comply with federal air quality standards for lead emissions.
Exide and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality reached an agreement to reduce lead levels and bring the plant into compliance. But just last month, the EPA found that plan unacceptable and demanded changes to make it enforceable.
“We’re just trying to gain awareness have the city council aware of our citizen’s concerns on the negative impact on Frisco,” Eileen Canavan with Frisco Unleaded said.
The group Frisco Unleaded is now trying to gather more than 2,000 pounds of canned food donations. Organizers say that represents the reported 2,000-plus pounds of lead Exide emits every year.
“It does build up – the lead does build up – in our ground soil, so we’re pretty concerned about it,” Canavan said.
Frisco Mayor Maher Maso said those concerns are being acknowledged.
“We have heard about those concerns and continue to work with the EPA and TECQ and strongly let them know about those concerns, and if this plant remains here, it needs to be the cleanest operating plant, period,” Maso said.
An Exide spokesperson said the plant continues to reduce its emissions to meet the November 2012 deadline set by the EPA. Meanwhile, the donated food will benefit a Frisco shelter.