Authorities serve search warrant at Freeport plant

January 26, 2011 4:08:54 PM PST
State authorities carried out a search warrant Wednesday on the Shintech chemical plant in Freeport. The investigation is still in its early stages. Authorities tell us while the allegations involve health and safety issues, the public is not in any danger.

SkyEye HD was over the scene Wednesday morning as local and state authorities launched their investigation. Shintech, the country's largest producer of PVC, is accused of discharging unknown amounts of pollutants and contaminants into the water from its Freeport facility on E. Highway 332. What's more, the company allegedly tampered with a government record and failed to notify the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality of those discharges.

Shintech is also being investigated for improperly using pollution control measures. A criminal search warrant was executed this morning and authorities say additional details of the case won't be released until their work here is finished.

According to Mike Cox with Texas Parks and Wildlife, about 8am Wednesday a criminal search warrant was served on the Shintech chemical plant. Shintech is being investigated for allegedly discharging pollutants in Texas waterways, tampering with a government record, failure to notify federal and state agencies of the discharges and improperly using pollution control measures.

The Greater Houston Regional Computer Forensics Lab, Harris County Precinct 1 Environmental Crimes division, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the Travis County District Attorney's Office and other agencies are also involved in the action.

Later Wednesday afternoon, Shintech issued a statement saying in part:

    "Shintech's Freeport manufacturing facility is fully cooperating with all requests for information by law enforcement and other state and local governmental officials. We are unaware of any violations related to the items listed in the Travis County search warrant issued January 25, 2011.

    Shintech intends to cooperate with officials for the duration of the investigation. Shintech is committed to regulatory compliance and good environmental performance, and being a responsible partner with our community is very important to us. We are proud of our record of performance and safe operations in Brazoria County throughout our history. "

A command post has been set up at the main gates of the facility. No word on how long the investigation will take.