THE STATE’S environmental commission is to consider whether to allow a contested hearing about the county’s plan to expand its La Marque landfill.
Residents have fought a three-year battle opposing expansion of the landfill at 3935 Avenue A.
In 2012, Galveston County applied for a type-1 landfill permit to expand the mound’s size and height.
Next month, the Texas commission on environmental quality will consider executive director Richard Hyde’s request to allow a contested hearing about the county’s plans.
If approved, Hyde has recommended that the contested hearing should last nine months.
Residents have logged a litany of objections, ranging from the protection of a nearby historic oak tree to the risk of groundwater contamination. In his remarks, Hyde agreed that 17 of the 24 issues raised should be addressed during the contested-hearing period.
Under the permit, the total facility would be increased by 72 acres to encompass 469.5 acres. Of that, 334 acres would be used for waste disposal. At final elevation, the landfill would stretch 202.5 feet above sea level.
Five letters, which include two from Galveston County drainage district No 1, claim the landfill expansion is a health hazard or that the operations are not in compliance with agreements, regulations and plans.
David Wilkins, supervisor at the drainage district, wrote that Republic Services, the company that operates the landfill for the county, has not correctly built detention ponds. He also stated that the company fails to follow its own construction plans.
In a January 2014 letter, Wilkins said that, when the drainage district was notified of the expansion plans in 2012, it began discussions with the county and the company.
“We have gone out and inspected the area and, to date, they have not built the approved detention pond,” he wrote to TCEQ in reference to “plans that had been submitted back in June 2012”.
In March 2014, he wrote again and said the district had met in February with Republic Services, the county health district and Galveston County Landfill and that agreements made at that time had gone unfulfilled.
“At that meeting, Republic Services said they would bring the landfill up to compliance,” he said. “As of today, they have not submitted any new plans and have not made any progress in doing so.”
He then asked the TCEQ to deny the permit until the county meets its agreement with the drainage district.
NASA shows off new rocket science
NASA researchers and other scientists are this week presenting early results from an historic comet landing and a Mars orbit to a conference being held just outside Houston.
The results of the agency’s Mars atmosphere and volatile evolution, or MAVEN, mission, the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission and an exploration of the evolution of Mars’ climate and atmosphere are being released during the 46th lunar and planetary science conference.
The conference began on Monday, March 16, at the Woodlands Waterway Marriott hotel and convention center at 1601 Lake Robbins Drive in The Woodlands and will run until Friday.
MAVEN successfully entered Martian orbit in September to study the planet’s upper atmosphere.
After a three-year deep-space hibernation, Rosetta awoke in 2014 to approach and map a comet.
In November, the Rosetta probe deployed a lander, Philae, which made a historic landing on the comet.
The conference also features presentations on other planetary science missions and projects, including a discussion on the evolution of the solar system.
Cornyn’s trafficking victims bill back in congress
AT PRESS time on Monday, The US congress was scheduled to resume consideration of a Texas senator’s Justice For Victims Of Trafficking Act that stumbled last week when Democrats called foul after learning it contained anti-abortion language.
Senate majority whip John Cornyn, Texas’ senior senator, led the effort on Thursday for congress to adopt the act after his bill had seen a smooth sail through the senate judiciary committee last month.
Both parties called the measure a remarkable bill and 13 Democrats were among it cosponsors.
Cornyn argued that the language, which reflects the anti-abortion-funding Hyde amendment to congress’ annual appropriations bills, had been part of the bill for a month and that the Democrats were running a last-minute hijack attempt.
In response, senate minority whip Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin introduced substitute amendments and said the bipartisanship effort would not languish under politics.
Durbin’s substitute amendment called for the removal of the Hyde restrictions on federal funding of abortions and added two more bipartisan pieces.
Durbin called for the addition of the Runaway And Homeless Youth And Trafficking Prevention Act, originally supported by the Democrats’ Vermont senator Patrick Leahy. He also called for the addition of the Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act sponsored by Minnesota Democrat senator Amy Klobuchar.
Weber: Amnesty credits could cost billions
US CONGRESSMAN Randy Weber has accused president Barack Obama of wasting $10.2 billion of taxpayers’ money through his executive amnesty program for illegal aliens.
Weber, who represents Texas’ district 14 in the house of representatives, made the claim last week as he promoted a bill that would deny tax credits to people who receive amnesty under Obama’s program.
On March 3, Weber introduced HR 1332, known as the Deny Amnesty Credits Act. Congress immediately moved it to the house’s ways and means committee.
“We must hold this administration accountable for actions that circumvent congress’ constitutional power of the purse and could cost billions of taxpayer dollars” he said on Wednesday.
“In an effort to dismantle his amnesty agenda, the Deny Amnesty Credits Act will stop billions in tax credits from being given to those who are here illegally.”
The bill, which has nine cosponsors, would deny people who are granted deferred action under the program from receiving earned-income-tax credit and child-tax credit.
Specifically, it would prevent people benefiting under the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, and Parents Of Americans And Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, programs from qualifying for the income-tax credits.
“Our president has trampled on our constitution and circumvented congress to ensure his political legacy far too many times,” Weber said.
“His executive amnesty would give illegal aliens access to social-security numbers and the ability to receive as much as $35,000 on their tax returns from the US treasury.
“According to the congressional budget office, this could cost American taxpayers $10.2 billion.”
Community cops calling all clubbers
THE ANNUAL League City police department golf tournament tees off on April 13.
The tourney, honoring the memory of long-time employee Saul Balderas, will take place at the South Shore Harbour golf course.
This tournament supports the department’s community outreach services and assistance to victims of child abuse and domestic violence and families displaced by fire and other disasters.
It also helps fund the Blue Santa program that provides Christmas presents to deserving families and provides funds for the department’s programs and equipment, including a prescription-drug take-back date, National Night Out and its Volunteers In Policing program.
Deadline for registration is March 31. For information, go online to leaguecity.com/golf or contact community outreach officers Christy Galyean at 281-338-8201 or Todd Young at 281-554-1848.