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Exide Opponents Turn Up Heat On Frisco Council

Exide lead plant critics wear smokestacks as hats during a Frisco council meeting Tuesday.
Shelley Kofler
Exide lead plant critics wear smokestacks as hats during a Frisco council meeting Tuesday.

Citizens who want the Exide lead battery plant out of Frisco are turning up the heat on city officials. KERA's Shelley Kofler reports on demands they presented to the city council last night.

You couldn't miss the forty some members of Frisco Unleaded. They were the ones wearing badges with a bright red line crossing out the Exide name. Some wore tall burning Exide smokestacks on their heads and carried signs that read, "Punish the Polluters".

Shiby Matthew / Frisco Unleaded Member: Children are more affected by lead than adults. There are no safe levels of lead.

At the podium Exide opponents recited the dangers from lead exposure. They recounted the lead contamination federal and state investigators have found around the lead battery plant and in Frisco's air.

Frisco Unleaded member Meghan Green read the resolution the group wants the city to adopt.

Green: The City Council of Frisco directs the city of Frisco Board of Adjustment to hereby begin amortization proceedings for the Exide lead smelter property not more than 60 days after adoption of this resolution.

Frisco Unleaded wants the city to use zoning and the complicated amortization process to force Exide to shut down the Frisco plant. It also wants the City to aggressively challenge all of the permits Exide needs to continue operating in its current location.

Advising the Frisco citizens was environmental activist Jim Schermbeck who advocates the use of the amortization process. Schermbeck helped shut down Dallas's RSR lead smelter in the 80's and says amortization helped do that.

Schermbeck: It is the one thing you can guarantee that will close this facility.

But a letter provided by the city tat that recounted the RSR closing seemed to dispute the effectiveness of amortization.

Frisco Mayor Maher Maso wanted citizens to hear that.

Maso: We wanted to share as much as we could about that case. And clearly that letter from the Dallas attorney shows that's not why they were closed. It wasn't the amortization process.

The mayor and council aren't saying what course they will pursue with Exide. The company says it intends to make plant improvements so it can fulfill EPA clean air requirements and continue operation.

Frisco Unleaded says it plans to be front and center at a zoning meeting later this month where Exide's future may be at issue.

Former KERA staffer Shelley Kofler was news director, managing editor and senior reporter. She is an award-winning reporter and television producer who previously served as the Austin bureau chief and legislative reporter for North Texas ABC affiliate WFAA-TV.