Waller Times – Landfill Contest Not Finished

After several postponements, the Contested case Hearing on the proposed landfill permit has been set for November 2, 2015 in Austin.

Assuming no further delays, the case will be heard by two Administrative Law Judges with the State Office of Administrative Hearing (SOAH). The trail is expected to take about two weeks. This proceeding, to determine the facts, is the last step before the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) Commissioners make their final decision.

The proposed Pintail Landfill permit was not stopped by last December’s trial in Waller County.

The December trial was necessary to clarify whether former County officials acted legally in adopting, first, an amended version of the County’s 2011 landfill location control ordinance and, second, a Host Agreement. A jury of Waller county citizens decided that those officials did violate the Texas Open Meeting Acts and the Texas Public Information Act.

The issuance of the TCEQ landfill permit remains to be decided. The application was referred to SOAH for a determination of the facts through a “trial” called a Contested Case Hearing (CCH). Such hearing include depositions, affidavits, expert testimonies, and cross-examinations relative to the many disputed issues in the application.

After the evidence is heard, the SOAH Judges will issue a “Recommendation for Decision” to the Commissioners of the TCEQ.

Along with Waller County, the city of Hempstead and several other parties, Citizens Against the landfill in Hempstead (CALH) is preparing for the CCH.

CALH has tried to be prudent with money entrusted to us so far. For over four years now the landfill has been fought to a standstill and the Applicant still does not have a permit. Neither does it own the land.

What is left to do?

Up to now, most of the preparation work for the CCH has been done and paid for from donations, fundraisers and settlement funds from the December trial. However it is estimated that another $300,000 will be needed by CALH to cover remaining expenses of the battle. Without lawyers to finish preparing for the case and to “try” it before the SOAH Judges, the fight will be lost.

How can the rest of the necessary money be raised? The same way money has been raised to hold off the landfill for the last four years through cash donations, garage sales and the “We Stand United” dinner/auction fundraiser, That’s how!

Cash donations are always accepted –  and are tax deductible. The next Garage Sale is slated for August, and the “we Stand United 3” dinner/auction will be Saturday evening, July 25, at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Hempstead. It is the single largest CALH fundraiser. It is also a chance for area folks and business to support in a big way… and knock an equally big hole in the expected cost of finishing the fight in August, not to mention having a good dinner and fun-filled evening.

To help with the fundraiser by donating or by volunteering contact us at StopHwy6lanfill@gmail.com.

Please help CALH finish its part of the fight. Together, we can run Pintail dump entirely out of our county.