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Exide Says Bankruptcy Won't Affect Its Cleanup In Frisco

Exide plant in Frisco.
Shelley Kofler, KERA
Exide plant in Frisco.

Exide Technologies says bankruptcy will not alter the cleanup of lead contamination at its closed Frisco plant. 

The battery maker cited an increase in the price of scrap lead as one reason in filing for Chapter 11 protection.

While bankruptcy prevents creditors from collecting money owed by the company, the City of Frisco says Exide Technologies has pledged to stay on schedule with its cleanup of lead contamination at the 90 acre site where it recycled vehicle batteries.

Frisco Mayor Maher Maso says Exide also promises to continue cleanup of the 179 acres surrounding the plant which the city plans to buy from the company.

“As I understand it at this time everything will move forward as planned.  They’ve ensured us they have every intention of living up to the agreement,” said Maso.

Maso says the bankruptcy wasn’t completely unexpected and the city was prepared for it.

One citizens’ group that pressured the plant into closing says the bankruptcy might actually be a good development.

“What bankruptcy does is provide the City of Frisco with an opportunity it didn’t have before which is to buy the rest of the smelter back from Exide,” said Jim Schermbeck of the environmental group Downwinders at Risk.

Schermbeck says the plant site sits in the middle of town near the tollway and other valuable property.

He believes that if it stays in the hands of Exide it will remain a storage site for contaminated waste.  But Schermbeck sees development potential if the city buys the 90-acre plant site in addition to surrounding property it already plans to purchase.

“If you clean that up that site it would be invaluable,” said Schermbeck. 

“It’s worth millions and millions and millions of dollars in terms of development potential.  So it makes me think, yeah, there’s a lot better chance of development now if you get that land out of Exide’s control.” he said.   

A spokesperson for Frisco says she is unaware of any discussions about the city buying the plant site. 

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.