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Asphalt company president says production in Joppa to stop June 26

The Austin Asphalt plant in Joppa.
Yfat Yossifor
/
KERA
The Austin Asphalt plant in Dallas' mostly Black Joppa community is at the heart of controversy as at least one advocacy group says the plant presents potential health risks to residents.

The president of the company that operates a controversial batch plant in the predominately Black community of Joppa says it is stopping production June 26.

Austin Bridge and Road President Richard Mills confirmed that date on Friday.

The plant has been the epicenter of controversy for years. Joppa residents and environmental activists say the plant is polluting the community’s air, leading to health issues — and is not a problem other community in Dallas have to deal with.

KERA News reported in early May on the millions being paid to the asphalt company by the City of Dallas — Joppa residents and environmental activists say they had no idea. Eric Schranz, a manager with Austin Bridge and Road, told KERA in a May 12 statement that the company planned to move, but did not say when.

“We have informed city officials of our intention to urgently move Austin Bridge and Road’s operations from the current location…our plans remain the same and efforts to relocate are underway,” Schranz said in the statement.

Community members and Dallas officials say Austin Bridge and Road indicated last year they would be moving the plant out of Joppa.

“I offered to have the real estate department and the economic development department to work with them to see what we could to do assist them to relocate,” District 7 Council Member Adam Bazaldua said in an interview with KERA in April.

Shortly after a raucous meeting in early April, where Joppa residents were told by Dallas city officials that they needed proof of environmental issues, city officials found the plant to be out of compliance.

Despite saying they would move — and the city violations — the company still moved through the permitting process and applied to postpone a public hearing over the plant's permit with the city.

Got a tip? Email Nathan Collins at ncollins@kera.org. You can follow Nathan on Twitter @nathannotforyou.

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Nathan Collins is the Dallas Accountability Reporter for KERA. Collins joined the station after receiving his master’s degree in Investigative Journalism from Arizona State University. Prior to becoming a journalist, he was a professional musician.