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Exide Opponents Take Steps to File Suit

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

Citizens who fought for the closure of the Exide lead battery plant in Frisco are now preparing to take legal action. 

Members of Frisco Unleaded say environmental regulatory agencies have long known about lead contamination at the Exide battery recycling plant, but they haven’t done enough to make sure it’s cleaned up quickly.

Frisco Unleaded member Colette McCadden says the group on Monday notified Exide and regulatory agencies that it plans to file a lawsuit in 90 days.

“Our goal is to force Exide to remediate the property the actual plant sits on to the highest level possible, and unfortunately to date the TCEQ and the EPA have not enforced the law,” she said.

Last May the state’s environmental agency, the TCEQ, inspected the Exide plant and found elevated concentrations of lead and battery chips in the soil.  Inspectors also found liquid seeping into an area near Stewart Creek.

In September the TCEQ told Exide it was working on a formal enforcement order.  Citizens believe that order should have been in place by now.  

But the TCEQ’s Terry Clawson says the process takes time.  The TCEQ is waiting for Exide to provide an inventory listing all the  contamination.

“They will do a cleanup plan,” Clawson said. “The TCEQ will ensure people the ongoing remediation of the site is going to be conducted in accordance with all state and federal regulations. And we are going to continue monitoring for all current and potential environmental issues,

The federal EPA says it is also awaiting Exide’s report so it can order a specific cleanup plan, and Exide says it is cooperating with both government agencies.

But the citizens say the pace of progress is so slow they could be living with the lead for years.  They believe the courts will ensure a quicker, more thorough cleanup.

TCEQ Investigation Findings TCEQ Notice of Enforcement at Exide

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.