Officials Push to Close Shingle Mountain Recycling Business

Councilman says certificate of occupancy revoked

Dallas officials Wednesday said the city has revoked an operating permit for Blue Star Recycling, the firm that has a mountain of asphalt shingles piled beside neighbors' homes.

The announcement came as a new organization of activists called "Southern Sector Rising" launched a coordinated attack on the shingle mountain and other Southern Dallas environmental concerns.

Blue Star neighbor Marsha Jackson has lived in a house right beside the location for 23 years. She got emotional at the group’s City Hall press conference Wednesday.

"Nobody know what we're going through," she said. "You can see it. You can imagine it. But until you're there and find out? You stay out there an hour or two and see what you're going to be experiencing."

Jackson said she started complaining to the City of Dallas about Blue Star Recycling's expanding shingle pile on South Central Expressway around February 2018 with little response. After media reports about the growing problem, The City of Dallas filed a lawsuit to stop the operation in December, but the company said it was doing nothing illegal. Jackson said the shingle pile has continued growing.

Wednesday, her current Dallas City Council Member Tennell Atkins, said the occupancy permit for the largest portion of the Blue Star site was revoked by the city this week.

Atkins and former Councilman Erik Wilson crowded beside Jackson as she spoke about the problem in front of TV cameras. Wilson is running against Atkins in the May City Council election.

"I want you to fight for every last one of us down there. This breaks my heart," she told them. "I volunteered and complained to both of them. And so that's what I'm so upset about."

Atkins and Wilson both said they have actively fought for neighbors against environmental problems in the far Southern Dallas District, but many members of the new organization "Southern Sector Rising" blame the city for providing too little protection.

A sign at the front of the group's press conference said "End Racist Zoning in Dallas."

Member Yolanda Bluehorse praised the new activist effort.

"It's the first of many voices and many fights that this City of Dallas needs, to start standing up and take responsibility and accountability for the things that they do," Bluehorse said.

Activist Jim Schermbeck said air monitoring samples his group "Downwinders at Risk" took at Jackson's property showed heavy dust from grinding up shingles at the recycling company.

"I've been doing this a long time, this is one of the most horrible situations I've ever seen," Schermbeck said.

In the past, Blue Star CEO Chris Ganter has said the company followed all state and local requirements and there were no environmental problems with the site.

A manager at the location Wednesday said no permits had been revoked and the company was open for business.

Ganter did not return messages Wednesday.

Jackson said she will not be satisfied until the mountain is gone.

"I appreciate everybody, but it's got to be done. It need to be moved," she said.

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