Importance of March to Courthouse, February 12, 2013 – Rick Welch

Dear Citizens of Waller County:

Since the discovery in June 2011 that our Waller County Commissioners Court was not only aware of, but working with, Green Group Holdings LLC and Pintail Landfill LLC to site a Municipal Solid Waste Landfill on the historic Rainey Ranch just one mile north of Hempstead on State Highway 6, we have had many ups and downs.

Citizens Against the Landfill in Hempstead (CALH) was organized and has fought hard to bring our County Judge and Commissioners to a realization that this proposed landfill would be a major setback to the future beneficial economic development of Hempstead, a major traffic hazard to young college students traveling Highway 6 and a real and serious threat to the health and safety of future generations of Waller County residents because of the inevitable contamination of our only foreseeable source of drinking water, our groundwater.

In August 2011, the public outcry was so great that the Commissioners Court was convinced to pass an ordinance that would stop the project at the proposed site. However, it has remained apparent that the majority of our Commissioners Court have continued to work secretly behind the scenes to support this proposed landfill despite their public comments to the contrary. Secret meetings in Austin between Judge Beckendorff, Commissioner Pokluda, high level TCEQ staff, and lobbyists for Green Group Holdings have been revealed where apparently a plan was worked out to get around the newly passed landfill ordinance. Other behind closed door meetings have been revealed recently between Green Group Holdings and members of the Commissioners Court where secret negotiations were held on a Host Agreement.

At the December 19, 2012, Commissioners Court meeting, all pretenses that the Commissioners Court was working in the best interest of the citizens of Waller County were removed when the Court voted to abandon any pursuit to enforce Waller County Landfill Ordinance No. 2011-001, and instead take action to amend the ordinance, so that the proposed historic Rainey Ranch site would be the only location in Waller County where a landfill could be located. In short, our elected officials have acted in direct opposition to the wishes of the citizens who have elected them.

It is obvious that the Commissioners Court is blinded by the promise of short-term financial gain to the County. This short term gain will run out quickly and will never make up for the damages that this landfill will do to the city of Hempstead and Prairie View, and the entire northwestern portion of the County. Nor can it possibly justify the placing of this landfill on top of one of the richest recharge zones of the Chicot Aquifer in the County, where rainfall is absorbed into the highly permeable, sandy soils and is transported to our drinking water wells.

Now that the Commissioners Court has made its intentions clearly understood, they must still go through the legal requirements for amending the current ordinance. This involves a Public Hearing, which has been scheduled for:

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 6:00 PM

Waller County Courthouse, Hempstead

This Public Hearing will be our only real chance to convince Waller County Judge Beckendorff and our Waller County Commissioners that 1) the actions they are pursuing are not in the best interests of the County; 2) they should not amend the current landfill ordinance; and, 3) they are endangering the health, safety and welfare of future generations of Waller County residents.

For the sake of the County, we must have the sort of turnout that we have had for the TCEQ Public Meetings. Please plan to attend and ensure that your family, friends and neighbors attend. We must let the Commissioners Court experience, first hand, the objections of the citizens of Waller County to this extremely detrimental landfill proposition since several of them did not appear to be in attendance at those TCEQ meetings.

Sincerely,

Rick Welch

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