Council members halt Bordeaux waste facility

(l-r) Councilman Scott Davis, Councilman Jonathan Hall, At-Large Councilwoman Erica Gilmore, and At-Large Councilwoman Sharon Hurt. (photos: Metro Council)

In tag team style, council members Scott Davis, Jonathan Hall, Erica Gilmore, and Sharon Hurt worked together with the community to put the brakes on a food-waste facility for the Bordeaux area.

Residents were alarmed to discover last week that a bill was scheduled for final reading to approve plans for a solid waste processing facility at 4648 Ashland City Highway.

According to the area’s newly elected District Councilman Jonathan Hall: “Ninety-nine percent of the district is dead-set against it.”

Jonathan Hall was just sworn in days before the bill was scheduled for third reading, and possible passage, for the Tuesday night council meeting.

According to the bill, Resource Capture, Inc. had submitted an application with plans for a solid waste processing facility to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), Division of Solid Waste Management.

The proposed facility would consist of a processing facility with the amount of waste to be handled, processed and/or stored by the proposed facility to total 30 tons per day, with a maximum storage capacity of 30 cubic yards.

The bill had made it to a second reading without any community input. Hall, as the new council member for the district, withdrew the bill with the help of some of his fellow Minority Caucus members.

“It should have never even made it this far,” said Hall. “The process has to respect the community, engage the community and discuss it with the community, educate them what it is you want them to do, and get feedback. That didn’t happen. There are multiple locations that this could go in beside our district.”

District 54 candidate Scott Davis who helped Hall defeat the bill agrees.

“It’s something that’s not good for our community,” said Davis. “The citizens of Bordeaux are adamantly against facilities that bring down their property value and quality of life.”

“Environmental racism and failing infrastructure have plagued communities of color for decades,” Davis said while citing statistics that landfills, hazardous waste sites, and other industrial facilities are most often located in communities of color and that more than half of the people who live within 1.86 miles of toxic waste facilities in the United States are people of color.

According to Councilman Davis: “Residents were almost subjected to the facility without community input, and were only made aware because of a requirement for notification thanks to the Jackson Law.”

Designed to keep the landfill owned by Waste Management from expanding, the Jackson law requires approval from the Metro Council for a new landfill or landfill expansion.

Project leader Seema Prasad says that she spoke to many community leaders and had gotten nothing but positive responses until recently, saying that the project has been subject to “misinformation and misunderstanding.”