Harris County attorney announces legal action against landfill expansion in historic neighborhood

Briana Conner Image
Saturday, February 25, 2023
Harris Co. joins legal fight against landfill expansion in Carverdale
Harris County Attorney Christian Menefee announces legal action to prevent landfill development in the Carverdale neighborhood.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A heavyweight has entered the ring in a small community's fight against the big industry. Harris County Attorney Christian Menefee announced he's taking legal action to stop the landfill expansion in the historic Carverdale neighborhood near the intersection of Beltway 8 and Tanner Road.

Menefee said this process is just a start. It sets up an opportunity for his office to go head-to-head against the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality on behalf of residents in the Carverdale community who may need more means to fight for themselves.

ORIGINAL REPORT: Carverdale residents fight to stop landfill expansion in the historic neighborhood

Rev. Vincent Lewis pastors Greater Macedonia Baptist Church and lives in the Carverdale neighborhood. "Within the next five to seven miles, all you'll be able to see is a big ol' dump of trash," he said.

That was the concern last summer when those in Carverdale learned about the USA Waste of Texas plan to ask the TCEQ for permission to triple the construction and demolition waste in their neighborhood.

"They, for far too long, have been able to put these types of facilities into Black and brown communities. This action is about standing up for those folks," Menefee said.

Menefee's office announced legal action against TCEQ on Thursday, emphasizing the priority on environmental justice. "What we're arguing is that they shouldn't be able to expand because of the potential harms to folks who live nearby in the communities," said Menefee.

For months, people have voiced their concern that expanding, instead of clearing out, the Hawthorn landfill will impact property values and the environment. The county and state leaders were listening.

SEE ALSO: Some neighbors pushing back on Third Ward Historic District designation proposal

"Now it's time to turn this into green space. It's time to turn it into something that can be of value to the community. What it has been has been an obstacle to the growth and the value of this community," Rep. Jarvis Johnson said.

Johnson shared a vision for protection and prosperity for the people he represented and said they deserve a fighting chance. "The people that are here don't have powerful lawyers or money. So, they have the county attorney, me as a state representative, and you have other elected officials that are also standing up. Those things are important to send a clear message," he said.

"This is about pushing back," Menefee added.

Neither USA Waste of Texas nor the TCEQ responded to Eyewitness News' request for comment on the legal action taken by the county.

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