LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Reader questions landfill actions, negotiations
Thursday, September 17, 2015
To the Editor:
I have refrained from sending a Letter to the Editor about the proposed 130 landfill until now. In light of recent events, I feel that I should formally “speak up,” so that my neighbors are aware of what has transpired.
Recently, Green Group Holdings, LLC (“GGH”) engaged in misconduct in a similar community two hours from here that is also dealing with a GGH proposed “mega-landfill.” And the nature of GGH’s misconduct is what is most disturbing.
As someone with legal training, I understand that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (“TCEQ”) will not grant a permit for a landfill, unless GGH satisfies all of TCEQ’s requirements, including the Contested Case Hearing requirement, which helps determine whether to grant the permit. Caldwell County’s Hearing begins this January, and serves as an opportunity to fully understand how GGH’s project could harm our community.
But this Hearing is only effective if GGH plays by the rules, just like any other legal proceeding. And here is where GGH’s recent misconduct makes me question how Caldwell County could ever confidently engage in any business dealings with GGH.
Below is a summary of the aforementioned misconduct from a Motion for Sanctions Due To The Applicant’s Spoliation of Evidence, which was recently filed against GGH:
– Ignoring the TCEQ rules mandating prior submission of a boring plan, Green Group begins the subsurface field work needed to prepare the application.
– While refusing to comply with ALJ’s order requiring that it grant site access to the city and its wetlands expert, Green Group again conducts earth-moving activities at the proposed landfill site.
– Green Group facilitated illegal conduct in its dealings with the County.
– Green Group claims to have produced everything that its testifying experts had, but then admits to intentionally destroying all field records and soil samples from its subsurface site investigations.
– Green Group continues to block site access for party representatives and attorneys.
– The ALJ’s set another prehearing conference and issue another
warning to Green Group.
– Mr. Kaufmann (President of Green Group) refuses to answer deposition questions.
– Green Group continues to conceal discoverable evidence.
– Green Group admits to engaging in earthmoving activities with
the intent of hiding the presence of jurisdictional waters at the proposed landfill site.
– And then the Executive Director of TCEQ made an unusual decision to request that the Judges recommend denial of GGH’s permit without even going through with their Hearing.
Despite these revelations about GGH, our County wants to explore
a business arrangement with GGH on Sept. 21 that could forever waive critical legal protections, rather than wait for our Hearing this January. To contrast with our community, city and replacement county officials in the neighboring community successfuIIy united
around the common goal of preventing a landfill. And I feel confident
that we can still do the same.
Thank you for taking the time to read this information, and for caring about our very special, growing community. I sincerely
hope that we continue to grow responsibly.
Jessica A. Neyman, J.D.