Residents fighting against proposed landfill

June 20, 2012 4:13:20 PM PDT
Imagine seeing signs reading "proposed landfill site" popping up near your neighborhood. That's what's happening in one Waller County community, and nearby residents are floored and ready for a fight.

Protest signs line the streets all the way to the proposed site.

"Our concerns are the potential environmental impact it'll have on Waller County and the community of Hempstead," said resident Bill Huntsinger, who's protesting against the landfill. "We are also concerned about the traffic and public safety impact it'll have on State Highway 6."

Pintail Landfill wants to build a 250 acre landfill near the intersection of Highway 6 and Highway 290. It has agreed to pay the county $1.50 per ton of garbage collected here and has applied for a permit with the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality.

On Wednesday, Waller County commissioners voted to hire an attorney to look into the proposal.

Waller County Judge Glenn Beckendorff said, "No one wants a landfill in Waller County. At this point it's TCEQ's decision. These people bought land as a real estate transaction. That's something we do not have control over as commissioners."

County Judge Beckendorff says the county wasn't prepared when Pintail applied for the permit last year.

"We did not have an ordinance at the time to prevent them from coming to Waller County," he explained. "We have since produced such an ordinance that would prevent any landfills from coming."

But for now those protesting against the landfill blame both Pintail for wanting to build here and the county commission for letting the project get this far.

"It is kind of a David and Goliath story," Huntsinger said. "We, being the citizens, are having to utilize our own resources, our own expertise to fight the landfill."

Pintail is owned by a Georgia company called Green Group Holdings. They issued a statement reading, "The Pintail site is ideal for this project based on the results of the environmental studies and the site's location on a major four-lane highway away from schools and dense neighborhoods."

The state has not issued any permits at this time, and public input meetings are being planned.

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