Special to The Dallas Examiner
In 2018, Blue Star Asphalt opened what it called a used shingle landfill and recycling center along South Central Expressway. It promised not to store over 280 tons of waste for more than a week at a time, according to local organizations, who said the company reported an estimation of at least 50,000 tons of used shingles and another 10,000 tons of shredded shingle dust it said was its recycled product. It was reported that the shingles and shredded shingle dust has remained in a pile since early 2018.
Neighbors have complained of air pollution, noise, and odors. They also cite respiratory problems they say started only after the company began operating. Yet, Earth Day has come and gone three times since the company began piling onto what groups Shingle Mountain – a collection some estimate to be 100,000 tons of hazardous waste.
Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price wrote a letter in 2019 criticizing both the state and the city of Dallas for letting the site get so out of hand.
Groups such as Downwinders at Risk, Joppa Freedman’s Township Assoc., Southern Sector Rising and Earth Day Action, as well as residents of the Flora Farms neighborhood, have been vocal about the medical hazards of the waste and has called for its removal, citing the permit to allow the area in the predominantly Black and Hispanic area, as well as the negligence in removing it in a timely manner, as environmental racism.
In July, Marsha Jackson, founder of Southern Sector Rising, filed a lawsuit against the city, the company and land owners for failing to remove the mountain of shingles and waste.
Recently Southern Sector Rising gave the city until Oct. 1 to clean up the shingles before proceeding with further action.
On Sept. 10, Mayor Eric Johnson announced that the city would begin removing the mountain of waste.
“We are moving forward with the removal of the site known as ‘Shingle Mountain.’ A request for bids from contractors was issued today,” Mayor Eric Johnson stated in a media release. “This issue has been in litigation since I became mayor, and I have been limited in what I could say publicly. I am pleased to see the cleanup of this environmental injustice moving forward. Our city is not a dumping ground.”
While some environmental activists are hopeful in regard to the city’s clean-up project, others remain doubtful.
“Maybe you think the crisis at Shingle Mountain is over,” Jim Schermbeck of Downwinders at Risk wrote in an announcement. “Despite new movement and statements, there’s still been no timeline announced by the city of Dallas for a clean-up, so we remain skeptical.”
The group has organized a Southern Dallas Mountain Movers non-violent disobedience training for Sunday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at GoodWorks Co-Working, located at 1808 S. Good Latimer Expressway.