STONECREST, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — A judge handed neighbors in Stonecrest a big victory on Monday, stopping the construction of a recycling plant, but their battle is not over just yet.

The effort to stop Metro Green Recycling from building a recycling plant in Stonecrest has been an uphill two-year battle for neighbors. Numerous court hearings, gridlock and red tape have clouded the project until this week, when a judge declared Metro Green’s permit invalid.

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Renee Cail is the president of Citizens for a Healthy and Safe Environment (CHASE), and she also lives in Stonecrest. “I am very excited about the ruling. We are trying our best to keep our community safe,” said Cail. “Some of the greatest concerns are noise pollution, which affects people greatly, the diesel emissions from trucks spewing toxins into the neighborhood, which are extremely dangerous,” she said.

Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) represents CHASE.

“This facility should not have been approved to operate in the City of Stonecrest in a neighborhood with predominantly Black residents,” said April Lipscomb, a senior attorney with the SELC who explained how this all happened. “The City of Stonecrest approved the project without having the proper authority at the local level. The Superior Court yesterday essentially ruled that Metro Green’s facility never should have received a solid waste handling permit from the State Environmental Protection Division.”

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Lipscomb said the steps taken were both unusual and unlawful. Getting an injunction on construction activity was their first big win in the case.

“We were able to get an injunction earlier in the case to prevent Metro Green from handling solid waste at the facility,” Lipscomb said, explaining how workers then continued crushing concrete until a judge also ordered those activities to stop.

They are now hoping the Georgia Environmental Protection Department will revoke the permit. CW69 News reached out to Metro Green, the Georgia EPD, and the City of Stonecrest for comment, but has thus far received no immediate response.

“The ruling gives us hope that we’re moving to a better day for all the people of Stonecrest, people surrounding Stonecrest, and people around the world who are fighting for environmental justice,” Cail said.

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They expect to decide the next steps in a few weeks.