400 attendees include Congressman, County Attorney, Opponents
EAST HARRIS COUNTY – A packed house of residents and government officials met last Thursday night at the Highlands Community Center for an update from the federal EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) on plans to remove the toxic waste from the storage pits in the San Jacinto River. The EPA also wanted to hear comments from the audience on their opinions about the Proposed Plan for removal. The meeting lasted 2 1/2 hours, with Gary Miller of the EPA making a slide presentation, followed by about 35 local residents and interested parties expressing their positions on the plan.
The meeting opened with remarks from Congressman Gene Green, who was instrumental in getting the waste pits put on the federal Superfund Priority List in 2008. He said dioxin is in the sediment, and needs complete removal. He was concerned about barges that might strike the pits and release the dioxins.
Harris County attorney Vince Ryan, who successfully sued the Responsible Parties and received $30 million for remediation, spoke about the black oozing dioxins evident when he walked on the site. He said, “If capped, the poison will be their for 700 years. A permanent capped could be breached by a hurricane.”
Statements were also read into the record from EPA District 6 Director Ron Curry and a written statement from Pct. 2 Commissioner Jack Morman, who called “Removal the only solution that will protect the public longterm.”