By Carolyn Stone Opinion Special to the Star-Courier
CHANNELVIEW – This Labor day weekend some community members received by mail from the US Army Corps of Engineers notice of another Holtmar Land LLC Letter of Permission (LOP) SWG- 2015-00855 dated 08/29/ 23. Holtmar Land LLC is a.k.a. Buffalo Marine Service, Inc. The LOP’s Applicant Point of Contact is Tim Studdert. Tim Studdert is the Vice President of Buffalo Marine. The LOP SWG-2015-00855 is the 5th attempt by Holtmar to receive a USACE permit to dredge approx. 15,000 cy (405,000 cf) from an approx 2.5 –acre area of the San Jacinto River (SJR) north of I-10 East and to install three (3) 36-inch steel monopile moorings within the SJR in the area along properties Holtmar owns at 17525, 17601, 17603, 17605 & 17607 River Rd. in Channelview.
The proposed location is in a FEMA Special Hazard Flood Area, is a Harris County Flood Control Floodway, is a Harris County Flood Mitigation Area under HCFCD buyout, in a protected blue crab, shrimp, flounder and speckled trout estuary of the San Jacinto River, in the Area of Concern for the SJR Waste Pits Superfund Site and in close proximity to residential homes.
Our communities are very aware of the havoc raised by the SJR flood waters in the area from the banks of Highlands and Baytown to Magnolia Dr. in Channelview which includes this project’s location and the dangers and damages caused by the barges in the area. Barges in the proposed area will potentially send barges onto the properties in the San Jacinto River Estates, Meadowbrook Park, onto I-10 itself and increase the strikes to the SJR Bridge and the SJR Waste Pits Superfund Site.
Public comments are due by: Wednesday, September 13, 2023
Approval of this permit will:
1. allow for the privatization of our public San Jacinto River waterway for private use and profit
2. create a barge mooring area and a floating chemical storage area in a FEMA Special Hazard Floodway
3. create barge mooring areas and installing floating chemical storage areas in the SJR near homes
4. prohibit and endanger public use of the SJR
5. endanger Meadowbrook Park, residential properties, I-10, the San Jacinto Waste Pits Superfund Site devalue residential properties
Each application appears to follow after complaints from community members are filed with the USACE of unpermitted construction and dredging by Holtmar/Buffalo or their other entity Tim- Tom Land Holdings. Community members have documented the unpermitted activities of dredging, land reclamation, pile driving, construction land and wetland fill and aquatic estuary destruction. Per Holtmar’s own submitted project plans the project site has increased in elevation since 2015 to 2023 from 3 feet to 7 feet even though the area suffers from subsidence and flood erosion. This latest LOP application follows community complaints of Buffalo’s creation of a barge mooring area in the SJR just west of the project site.
After 8 years of community members witnessing the unpermitted actions by Holtmar/TimTom/Buffalo the USACE on this latest LOP states “Permits issued for activities or work within the SJWP-AOC shall contain the following language: “By accepting this permit, the permittee agrees to accept potential liability for both costs and natural resource damages, to the same extent as would be inherent under the Comprehensive Environmental Response and Liability Act 1980 (CERCLA) as amended (42 U.S.C. 9601 et. Seq.) Further, the permitee agrees that this permit does not exclude the permitee from liability for response costs, damages, and any other costs that may be assessed under the CERCLA.” as if this statement will negate the unpermitted actions already taken, will ensure the permittee will no longer participate in additional unpermitted activities, will be responsible for damages to the community members personal property and health.
Thank you for prompt attention to this urgent matter and in stopping barges in the public waterway of the San Jacinto River.
Comments should be submitted by email to: Brian.J.Bader@usace.army.mil Phone #409 766-3037 Or mailed to: Brian J. Bader, Galveston District, Corps of Engineers, P. O. Box 1229, Galveston, TX 77553-1229
If you prefer Texas Health & Environmental Alliance (THEA) has prepared a petition in opposition of the project and requesting a public hearing you can sign and THEA will submit it to all emails and addresses for you. The link to THEA’s petition is: https://www.cognitoforms.com/THEA1/USACESJR-CLOP920232
Sincerely, Carolyn Stone
Channelview Health & Improvement Coalition Channelview, Texas C.H.I.C.firstname.lastname@example.org Face Book: https://www.facebook.com/groups/892294181644780 ”A voice for Channelview”
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