Green vows to fight for river cleanup despite subcommittee loss

EAST HARRIS COUNTY — During the last legislative session Congressman Gene Green fought to have a toxic waste pit on the San Jacinto River placed on the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Priority List and be designated as a Superfund Cleanup.

As a member of the House subcommittee that oversees funds going to the EPA Green was poised to exert pressure to have the site remediated. Then politics intervened.

In a battle over the chairmanship of the House Energy Committee, Henry Waxman defeated fellow Democrat John Dingell 137-122. One of Waxman’s first acts was to dissolve Green’s subcommittee. The oversite that would have gone to the subcommittee will be split among other subcommittees.

Green said that he hoped Waxman’s decision to dissolve the subcommittee was because Green did not have enough seniority to chair the committee and not that Green had supported Dingell’s election.

Despite the loss, Green remained optimistic that through his other subcommittees he will be able to help the residents who live along the river.

Green has been assigned to the Subcommittee on Health, the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection and on the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

The site is question is located near the San Jacinto River Bridge, north of Interstate 10. The site contained dioxins and other pollutants discarded by a now-defunct paper mill. Because of the pollutants, fish and other wildlife have been contaminated. Despite posted warnings, people continue to fish and crab in the area. The dioxins have been linked to certain types of cancer.