I have had a busy day today. This morning I attended the meeting of the Chambers County Commissioners Court as this was on their agenda. There were no actions to take today but a number of people were able to speak and express their concerns and ideas. One of the key speakers was Ms. Jackie Young. She is the Executive Director of THEA and is the person that is spearheading the removal of the San Jacinto River toxic waste pits. I visited with her at length after the meeting. She is excited to help us with our cause. My take from the meeting today is that Judge Sylvia and the Commissioners will be researching the County’s options but can’t do anything until the request for permit is posted in early January.
Now I will outline our (Beach City and neighbors) Initial strategy:
1) I will be asking City Council to establish parameters for an ordinance that would protect the citizens and property owners of Beach City from this and future attempts to deposit dirt, sand or dredge material that poses a potential risk to flood drainage, property values or health. Council will meet on January 8th in a special called meeting at which time this will be presented. I will appoint a committee to prepare an ordinance to present to Council at the Regular Council Meeting on January 22 for a vote.
2) We will form a citizens coalition as soon as possible. Anyone who would like to share their expertise, experience, Talents or network that would be helpful to our cause please email me so we can get organized. I was contacted today by Guy Matthews to offer his services and experience. He is an esteemed attorney that was a key player in the fight against the toxic waste dump that wanted to locate in Cedar Crossing about 20 years ago. Many of you probably know him. Also, Ms.Young has offered to help in this area.
3) I have scheduled a town hall meeting on January 21st at 6:30 pm in the Beach City Community Building. Ms. Jackie Young will be there and I will be working to getting others. I hope the Citizens Coalition will have time to develop a presentation.
4) I ask that everyone start writing letters of concern to Congressman Babin and State Rep. Mays Middleton. It is more effective to send a letter via US postal Service than it is to send an email. Also. Ms. Young recommends that you email a copy to me so that we can have a record of letters sent. For those that get writers block (like me), she is going to furnish a form letter that she feels would be most effective and I will share that when I get it. Personally, I think a letter from the heart would have the most impact.
Finally, I would like you to know that there are a lot of people that are working on this and more to come. I urge you to resist speculation and stick to what we know. At this time we don’t know what this dredge material will contain, only that there is a good possibility that it contains some level of toxic materials. FYI: There have been previous attempts to get permitted to dredge this same area that were denied. As I understand it, the last one was in 2010 and denied by the EPA. This was info from Jackie Young this morning and I hope I got the date right.
I will pass on information as it becomes available.
Beach City, Mayor