Dallas NAACP Will Meet With Local EPA Officials to Discuss City's Flow Control Proposal

Speaking of flow control ...

On the other side you'll find a letter that Juanita Wallace, president of the Dallas branch of the NAACP, sent to Environmental Protection Agency Region 6 chief Al Armendariz in which she decries the city's proposal that would force all solid-waste collectors to dump their trash at the McCommas Bluff Landfill. Marys Suhm and Nix have defended "flow control" myriad times, insisting it would put millions into Dallas's coffers by increasing the capture of methane that could be used or sold by the city.

Waste collectors insist that's not the case -- that the city's already getting what little treasure it can out of the trash at the landfill, which is sold by a company owned by T. Boone Pickens. And, they say, if the city wants to get more, then it'll need to build a new plant out at McCommas that'll eat up all the new money made from the increase in tipping fees anyway. Flow control was supposed to be on the council's briefing agenda today, matter of fact. It's been bumped till early September at Mayor Mike Rawlings's request.

Wallace doesn't care about all that: Her complaints echo those of some council members and Paul Quinn College President Michale Sorrell, who simply don't want more trash hauled down there. In her missive to Armendariz, presented yesterday to media, Wallace writes that flow control will have "adverse environmental justice impacts" on the area, and demands the EPA ...

"...promptly initiate a comprehensive assessment to determine the health and safety and emissions impacts of Dallas' Flow Control Proposal, the issue of whether the McCommas Landfill is properly designed to handle commercial and industrial waste that contain hazardous constituents, and to determine whether Dallas' proposal raises environmental justice concerns that need to be effectively addressed and remedied."

The Dallas office of the EPA confirms there is a meeting with Wallace on the schedule for tomorrow; more details are forthcoming. And messages have been left for Wallace and with the spokesperson at the D.C. office of the EPA's solid-waste division. Till then, read Wallace's letter and release on the other side.

Update at 12:33 p.m.: An EPA spokesman just sent the following statement:

"EPA has long-standing and productive working relationships with the City of Dallas, the NAACP, and [environmental activist Hilton] Kelley. While we lack direct regulatory control over operations at the McCommas Bluff Landfill, we are always interested in talking to all stakeholders of environmental issues and in convening parties to come to the table to discuss best paths forward. We will reach out to city officials and community leaders in coming days to find ways EPA can be helpful."

Environmental Justice-Mccommas Letter NAACP


DALLAS (August 16, 2011) - The Dallas Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) announced at a news conference today that it opposes the City of Dallas proposal to divert all trash collected in the city to the city owned McCommas landfill in Southern Dallas.

"We have sent a letter to the regional office of the Environmental Protection Agency to immediately review this possible action," said Juanita Wallace, Dallas Chapter President. "We find this to be an environmental justice issue whereby the citizens of the community surrounding the landfill could be impacted."

The organization said it believes there are serious policy issues in the city's effort to increase municipal and industrial waste at the facility. Wallace said increase traffic, emission and can the facility handle the additional waste of non hazardous industrial and industrial waste that contains hazardous constituents as her and the organization's big concerns.

"The City's questionable decision to divert all municipal and industrial waste that are generated in Dallas by the commercial and industrial sectors to the McCommas Landfill in Southern Dallas will result in a need for massive horizontal and vertical expansions to that landfill which will mean more traffic, potentially higher emissions levels and far more serious environmental justice consequences," the letter to the EPA states.

Wallace said the national office began addressing this issue over 10 years ago and now has become one of its national priorities. "We believe environmental justice is a quality of life determinant in many communities," she said.

Gary Bledsoe, state NAACP President, supports the local chapter in its call of an EPA review. "We think Dr. Wallace is correct and on point in asking for a review. Far too many times low income and minority communities suffer from the ill effects of this type of action, " Bledsoe said. The NAACP hopes to meet with representatives from the EPA in the near future to discuss next steps.

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