Citizens Against the Landfill in Hempstead
For almost 4 years, Citizens Against the Landfill in Hempstead (CALH) has been fighting to prevent the Pintail Landfill proposed for a location on a 723 acre property called the Rainey Ranch, just north of 290 on Hwy 6, a mile north of Hempstead, Texas.
With the knowledge that this location was the worst possible site for a landfill, CALH has hired first-class experts in the legal and engineering fields to help stop Pintail in various courts of law. The City of Hempstead/CALH v Waller County/Pintail trial verdict in our favor in December 2014, along with the settlement agreement on February 20, 2015, were an important victory for CALH and its supporters. Still to be fought are the Appeal in the transfer station lawsuit against the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and the Contested Case Hearing before the State Office of Administrative Hearings, scheduled for August 2015.
Please browse our website for articles on these important legal matters, information and updates on events, past and future, and various news items from TV, radio and newspapers. We also have a section on donations and fundraising which lists many ways that you can help.
Our greatest resource and asset are the people of Waller County and other concerned citizens who have been willing to donate their time, knowledge and resources. We hope you will join CALH and work with us to stop this landfill development and return a bright future to our beautiful Waller County.
We Stand United 3 - July 25th
You can DONATE to Stop Hwy 6 Landfill by clicking on the button below!
Recent CALH News
- Women of Waller County appeal to former First Lady Laura Bush
- Letter to Laura Bush – Taking Care of Texas
- Auction Item Album on Facebook for WE STAND UNITED 3
- WE STAND UNITED 3 – July 25, 2015
- City of Hempstead Motion to Dismiss
- ‘More than a’ Garage Sale, June 19 & 20th
- Attorney General’s opinion Re. payment of attorney’s fees for members of a county commissioners court under criminal investigation for potential violations of the Open Meetings Act
- Houston Chronicle – Details of lucrative land deal for controversial Hempstead dump revealed
- CALH Public Meeting – May 19, 2015
- Dolcefino Consulting Press Release as of May 1, 2015
Letter to Laura Bush
Dear Mrs. Bush,
We read with interest about the good work of your program “Taking Care of Texas”. This phrase describes perfectly what we, the undersigned group of women of Waller County (many of us members of the Citizens Against the Landfill in Hempstead or CALH), have been working very hard to do in our county for the past four years.
As you might imagine, our story is rather complex and involved but, when we saw that you were interested in hearing about ways in which Texans are taking care of this great state, we wanted to share our story with you. Perhaps you have heard about a proposed landfill project just outside of the City of Hempstead (famed for its delicious watermelons) on the busy HWY 6 route from Houston to Bryan-College Station and the northern gateway into Waller County? By the way, this is the same Hwy 6 that runs just east of Crawford and your ranch.
Our story can be explained into two parts: the way that this project came about and the actions and work that we have undertaken to save our small part of Texas.
It is no longer a secret that some of our elected officials were in communication with Green Group Holdings LLC, an out-of-state landfill permitting company, for over 6 months before any citizen became aware of its existence. In fact, this news only became public in June 2011 by accident, not through local leaders informing residents as one would have expected. The three elected officials involved were former County Judge Glenn Beckendorff and former Commisioner Frank Pokluda and Stan Kitzman. Fast forward to December 2014, and, in a three week trail in which CALH was a party, a jury of Waller County residents found that these same three men were guilty of violating the State’s Open Meetings Act and Public Information Act on multiple occasions with the regard to their actions surrounding this landfill deal.
Not only was this project built upon an illegal, unethical foundation by these trusted leaders, the actual location of the proposed project is extremely questionable on engineering grounds, not to mention any economical, historical, and environmental concerns. A landfill at this location will be dangerous to the environment, being sited directly over the recharge zone of the Chicot Aquifer, an important source of water for many Texans in Southeast Texas. Estimates are that when the inevitable leak at this proposed landfill would occur into the water table and near Clear Creek, alarmingly, toxic water would reach the City of Hempstead public water supply wells within just 16 years. Obviously, we must not let this happen!
Having established that this landfill is wrong at this location in every way, we set about taking action to save our county and its future generations. Concerned citizens immediately formed this citizens’ organization, CALH, which utilized the talents of local attorneys who promptly set about writing an ordinance to protect the county. Once again, elected officials let us down by delaying passage of this citizen-prepared ordinance with which allowed the landfill permitting company to file an abbreviated application with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).
On February 12, 2013, we marched to the County Court House (100+ citizen marchers made up of families, business owners, longtime and newly arrived residents, Prairie View A&M students, old, young, other elected officials including members of the Hempstead City Council) to demonstrate our united opposition. Still, those same three officials (who made up a majority, sadly) did not listen to our voice and voted 3-2 not to obstruct the proposed landfill.
Right away, the citizens of Waller County made history in this state in the opposition to a Municipal Solid Waste Landfill permit application at TCEQ. According to TCEQ figures, a record number of 5,147 letters of concerns were sent to the TCEQ. Citizens also submitted a record number of contested case hearing requests (1,340) to the TCEQ. This hearing is currently scheduled to begin in November 2015.
In addition, we have held a dozen Public Information meetings designed to inform and respond to questions or concerns which citizens may have, something our elected officials never did.
Despite our many comments and contacts with our local leaders, the only voice these elected officials heard in the end was at the voters’ booth and they are now all replaced in their offices as of January 2015.
Because we are up against big money and even a state agency, we have had to budget tightly and fund our every dollar with donations and fundraisers. We held our first (of 25 so far) garage sales in January 2012 and have average about $10,000 per sale; that is, over a quarter million dollars in used in used and recycled treasures. We have quite a team of organizers for these sales and, in fact, teamwork is the foundation of everything we have accomplished to date… teamwork and faith. We have receivers, sorters, cleaners, researchers, pricers, movers, repairers, stagers, photographers, marketers, printers, cashiers, wrappers, pickup and delivery workers, bakers and personal shoppers. Our two day events are something to see and our model is one that could be shared with many other charitable organizations. We also hold annual dinner/auctions at our local KC Hall – July 25 being our third such event. Just to show you that our hard work bears fruit of our cause, these fundraising dinner/auction events have also raised in excess of $250,000 . We have also produced a calendar called “Beautiful Waller County” to raise funds and have enclose for you a copy of the 2015 edition. You would be amazed at the unity, effort, and goodwill generated by this small community – at these sales and all of our events – to achieve a goal for the common good of Waller County.
Our battle has involved government agencies and entities ranging from the TCEQ, the Attorney General, the appeals courts, and even twice to the Texas Supreme Court. This is a clear case of the health, safety and welfare of the people of Texas being overlooked in the interest of dollars and cents which, sadly in this case, would be exported out of Texas. We note that the TCEQ is one of the sponsors of your organization and we felt we must point out to you the controversial role this state agency has played in this landfill permitting process. They have allowed this company to defy TCEQ’s own policies and rules without penalty. Many perceived the TCEQ, far from ‘taking care of Texas’, to be unfairly favoring and out-of-state garbage company wishing to bring trash to Texas.
Our position is the just one, Mrs. Bush, and falls right under the category of your organization: “Taking Care of Texas’. We urge you to review the history and events surrounding our issue and the steps we have taken to preserve our wonderful God given way of life. Four years is a long time for people to have diverted valuable time from family and friends and life in general, but we believe that this is the only course of action possible. We think you would be very proud of these Texans her in Waller County, including many capable yet ordinary women, who believe taking care of Texas is what we must do. Many of our leaders, both local and in Austin, have disappointed us over this issue but we are also encouraged to see strong leaders who are willing to stand up for what’s right.
We appreciate that you must receive many letters from many other hard working Texans. Thank you for reading our letter and for the opportunity to share this situation and these circumstances with you.
We invite you and President Bush to our “We Stand United 3” Dinner/Auction on Saturday, July 25, 2015 (invitation and tickets attached). We would also love to show you how we operate our Garage Sales and invite you to Hempstead to visit any of our upcoming sales (dates can be found on our website: www.StopHwy6Landfill.com). In addition, we are attaching a short video which shares photos taken from Waller County and why we must protect and preserve it. Again, thank you for your time and interest in our very important cause.