News came yesterday that Frisco had reached a $45 million deal to buy land surrounding the Exide battery recycling plant that’s been around since the 1960s.Â There weren’t many people living in the city when it opened, but there are about 126,000 residents now, and many of them were none too happy about having a neighbor that released lead into the environment. Now the plant will close.
In a paywalled analysis piece in the Morning News today,Â Randy Lee Loftis wrote that Frisco was fortunate to find a solution to its dispute with Exide, since regulations weren’t likely ever to force the plant to close:
Usually, rules don’t prohibit pollution. They just set maximums, which implies that anything below the maximum is OK.
With lead, a metal so toxic that almost immeasurably small grains can harm a child, that’s a problem. Medical science says there’s no safe level in a child’s blood, but rules say a certain amount is safe in the air.
Frisco had the money to strike this deal because of the revenue it generates for its Economic Development Corporation and Community Development Corporation, which are funded by a 1/2-cent sales tax. Â (Frisco’s not a DART member city, so it has the sales tax flexibility to collect this revenue, rather than having to use a chunk of its tax-rate-cap room for transit.) Â And with massive amounts of retail in the city, plenty of money rolls in. Â As Loftis put it, Frisco Â “has cash to do the job that the rule makers couldn’t.”
So if you’ve ever gone shopping at Stonebriar Centre or Ikea, feel free to give yourself a pat on the back for helping to prevent lead poisoning.