DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Tangela Barrie ruled June 27 that Metro Green Recycling’s solid waste handling permit was invalid relating to the operations at a facility in Stonecrest.
The ruling was in favor of Citizens for a Healthy and Safe Environment (CHASE)—which is represented by Southern Environmental Law Center Attorney April Lipscomb—and the city of Stonecrest.
The ruling suggests that Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) Director Richard Dunn should revoke Metro Green Recycling’s permit, which would stop its current development from operating in Stonecrest. Barrie added that EPD is the only entity that can revoke Metro Green’s permit and that the court can only suggest that EPD officials do so and share information.
Barrie said that the solid waste handling permit for the facility is invalid because its issuance was based on an unlawful letter from Stonecrest.
After the ruling, CHASE President Renee Cail released the following statement:
“After years of arguing against Metro Green, we’re relieved the DeKalb County Superior Court validates that we have a voice in whether solid waste is handled in our backyards, causing noise, air pollution, and mental distress for residents. We look forward to a response from Director Richard Dunn finally answering our request that he revoke Metro Green’s permit.”
Barrie also issued a warning to Metro Green in September 2020 stating that any work Metro Green did during active litigation would be at its own risk. Metro Green Recycling officials continued to work on the development during active litigation, stating company officials were confident they would not disturb the neighborhood.
The case from CHASE argues that Metro Green Recycling received a permit to build a concrete and solid waste recycling plant in Stonecrest despite—as Stonecrest and other plaintiffs argue—the appropriate entities not approving the permit.
Construction on Metro Green Recycling’s Stonecrest development originally began in June 2020.
Stonecrest officials issued a stop work order July 1, 2020 but removed it citing the possible legal jeopardy the city could have faced. City officials then filed a temporary restraining order against Metro Green Recycling—which also owns and operates a recycling facility on Pleasantdale Road in Doraville—and Barrie heard the case.
SELC officials joined the case and now represents plaintiffs from CHASE and helped CHASE and Stonecrest secure an injunction from Barrie that forced Metro Green Recycling to stop handling solid waste and crushing concrete at its Stonecrest plant.
SELC officials argued that Metro Green Recycling needed an approval letter from DeKalb County—the governing authority for solid waste handling in Stonecrest—for its application to the EPD. However, county officials said they revoked the request based on inconsistencies with the county’s recycling plan.
Metro Green Recycling officials said they later received a letter of approval from the city of Stonecrest, and EPD officials used the letter from Stonecrest to grant Metro Green Recycling’s permit. Plaintiffs have argued that DeKalb County was the only entity that could issue the permit because the county is the governing authority for solid waste recycling in Stonecrest.
Dunn and EPD can review the permit and have the option to revoke it if they deem it was obtained unlawfully.