GAF To Shutter West Dallas Shingles Plant Following Pollutants Study, Neighborhood Pushback
A West Dallas asphalt shingles plant will begin to unwind operations following a report that found it is releasing harmful amounts of pollutants into the air.
GAF, a North American manufacturer of roofing materials, has come to an agreement with the city of Dallas to close its 80-year-old facility on Singleton Boulevard, Council Member Omar Narvaez said during a July 14 news conference. The shutdown will occur over a period of seven years, according to a company spokesperson.
“GAF has come forward willingly to work with us on plans to leave,” Narvaez said. “This will be a legally binding exit — we don’t know what that looks like yet.”
The report put together by Singleton United/UNIDOS analyzed a year’s worth of data and found that pollution from the plant often exceeded federal standards, according to the Dallas Morning News. The company reported 244 tons of air pollution emissions to state regulators in 2020, which accounts for roughly 30% of the total permitted air emissions in the 75212 ZIP code, an area that is home to mostly Hispanic and Black residents.
“They have heard the community loud and clear, and they recognize that as West Dallas is changing and becoming more residential, that this industrial use no longer fits in West Dallas,” Narvaez said.
The West Dallas facility employs more than 150 individuals working union and non-union jobs.
“Our plan allows for these individuals and families to be supported through this transition, while also allowing for the development of the West Dallas neighborhood to meet the future needs of the city and community,” a company spokesperson said in a statement. “For more than 80 years, GAF has been an important part of the growth and evolution of West Dallas. We look forward to continuing down this collaborative path with the city and the community to move our plan forward.“
On the same day GAF announced it would close down its DFW operation, it issued a press release indicating it will build a 450K SF commercial roofing plant in North Peru, Illinois. The company has 35 manufacturing facilities across 27 locations in the U.S., according to the release.
Under the city of Dallas’ current zoning regulations, the GAF plant is located too close to homes. Narvaez said the city has already closed three cement batch plants in West Dallas this year.
“These types of conditions do not belong next to middle schools, elementary schools, or inside residential neighborhoods,” Narvaez said. “As West Dallas and other parts of the city … start to grow, we are going to have to work together to figure out policy in order to help move these different types of industries out of Dallas or into another part of Dallas that won’t affect the residents.”
Narvaez said the soil around the plant has not yet been tested, but that “there is probably cleanup that needs to be done.” He said the city is looking into funds available through the Environmental Protection Agency and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to help with that effort.
“We are not leaving anything unturned,” he said. “Once GAF does exit, we will get remediated and make sure it is ready for a good use.”
GAF has been given one week to provide additional information to residents about its shutdown process and timeline, Narvaez said.