- Memphis Wrecking Co. has withdrawn a second proposal to expand its landfill next to the Whitney Achievement Elementary School in the city's Frayser community.
- This decision comes one day before the application was set to be reviewed by the Shelby County Land Use Control Board. The company has indicated it plans to come back with a revised proposal.
- The company has argued that the 34-acre expansion would only be for demolition debris, not household waste or hazardous materials, but community advocates said any expansion would be inappropriate.
Memphis Wrecking withdrew its first application for similar reasons last June. A release from the company said that they've learned a lot from recent public meetings and are now "inspired" to come back with a better plan. The company also planted trees and put up a fence around the property's perimeter to create a barrier between its landfill and the school.
Still, many people are strongly opposed. The school's population is made up of 440 mostly black, low-income students and some residents have questioned whether this expansion would have been proposed in a higher-income neighborhood.
"The message from Frayser is that the expansion of a trash pile next door to a school as great as Whitney Elementary is diametrically opposed to the best interests of the community," Tim Ware, executive director for Achievement Schools, told Chalkbeat.
Similar questions of environmental justice have also been raised recently around other landfills. Residents living near the Rolling Hills Landfill in Florida had accused authorities of neglecting their health concerns and four people in the small community of Uniontown, Alabama are fighting a $30 million defamation lawsuit for speaking out against a coal ash landfill for similar reasons.