By Brooke A. Lewis | Houston Chronicle Reporter | February 27, 2018
A yearslong battle over the construction of a landfill in Hempstead has come to an end for now after a judge ruled in Austin on Friday that Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s decision to return the landfill’s application should be affirmed, according to court records.
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
had already rejected Pintail Landfill’s second application to build, but the company wanted that decision overturned. The trial took place on Thursday in Travis County’s 250th Civil District Court, where Judge Karin Crump the next day issued her ruling.
“It’s another court victory. It’s been a very long fight,” said Waller County Judge Trey Duhon. “From the beginning we were very clear, that this was absolutely one of the worst spots that you can possibly locate a landfill.”
The landfill, which would be built north of Hempstead off Texas 6 in Waller County, has been opposed for years by community members because they felt it would negatively affect their water supply and economic future. A local group, Citizens Against the Landfill in Hempstead,
has actively worked against the construction of the landfill, raising more than $2 million for the cause through community garage sales and other fundraisers.
Green Group Holdings LLC, based in Georgia, has continued to fight against the community’s opposition by buying the more than 700-acre property in 2016. TCEQ denied the second application to build the landfill in Waller County in December 2016, stating ordinances adopted by the county and the city of Hempstead now prohibit a garbage dump in the area. “The Pintail Landfill company, they probably could’ve walked away from this before they sank too much money into it. Instead, they doubled down,” said Duhon. “They now own that property and I’m sure they’ve put a lot money into this. That doesn’t change anything.”
However, the fight over the landfill, which has been brewing since 2011, could continue. The two-page judgment issued by Crump on Friday is appealable. “We are disappointed by the judge’s order, and as we evaluate the outcome, we are still pursuing multiple courses of action,” stated David Green, president of Green Group Holdings, in an email.The leaders of Citizens Against the Landfill said they will continue fighting against the landfill if the company decides to appeal the judge’s decision.
“We’re prepared for that to happen if necessary,” said Mike McCall, the group’s treasurer. “We are very unified in fighting this and looking for it to go longer.”
CALH PRESS RELEASE
February 27, 2018
On Thursday, February 22, 2018, at 2pm the Pintail Landfill LLC vs TCEQ/CALH trial took place in Travis County’s 250th Civil District Court, in Austin, Texas. This trial was an attempt by Pintail Landfill to have the TCEQ’s rejection of their second MSW Application overturned. Attorneys from all three sides took approximately 2 hours in total to present their arguments, after which presiding Judge, The Honorable Karin Crump, thanked all present and advised that she would make her ruling as soon as possible. Judge Crump’s Final Judgment came just 24 hours later, ruling in favor of TCEQ and Citizens Against the Landfill in Hempstead. Judge Crump’s judgment states in part:
“After considering the pleadings, briefs, administrative record, and arguments of counsel, the Court finds that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s decision to return Plaintiff Pintail Landfill LLC’s Municipal Solid Waste Application No. 2391 should be affirmed.”
In the two-page Judgment found at following link, it should be noted that Judge Crump also states that her ruling is ‘final and appealable’ which means that Pintail’s next possible recourse could be to appeal this ruling in the Austin Court of Appeals.
CALH leaders and attorneys were very pleased with this swift outcome which represents “yet another battle won, taking us one step closer to winning the war” to stop the ill-sited Pintail Landfill project.