Another win for Georgia neighbors fighting environmental injustice in Metro Green case
Neighbors in Stonecrest and South Dekalb, outside Atlanta, are celebrating after a Georgia judge ruled in their favor that a solid waste facility was approved unlawfully in their predominantly Black community, an attempt to continue the unjust pattern and disproportionate impacts of siting polluting industries in and around communities of color.
According to the ruling, the City of Stonecrest approved Metro Green Recycling’s request to build a solid waste handling facility that would bring hundreds of tons of waste to the site per day without the proper authorization or the required public input.
“The DeKalb County Superior Court essentially ruled that Metro Green’s facility never should have received a solid waste handling permit from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division in the first place,” explains Southern Environmental Law Center Senior Attorney April Lipscomb.
Lipscomb, who works primarily on water-related issues out of SELC’s Atlanta office, called the original permit approval “unusual and unlawful.” She has been collaborating with community organizers and environmental justice activists on the ground after neighbors learned more than two years ago that a massive area of dense trees in their backyards and across the street from their homes had been suddenly cleared.
One of those leading the fight against Metro Green is Renee Cail, president of Citizens for a Healthy and Safe Environment, which SELC is representing in the case.
“The ruling gives us hope that we’re moving to a better day for all the people of Stonecrest, people surrounding Stonecrest, and people around the world who are fighting for environmental justice,” Cail told the local press following the latest win.
In September 2021, SELC and CHASE received their first big victory when the judge granted an injunction to stop operations at the Metro Green facility, providing temporary relief for surrounding residents from the disturbing noise, odors, and dust.
Now, SELC continues to urge Georgia regulators to revoke the permit permanently.