At their monthly meeting last Tuesday night, the San Jacinto River Coalition heard from a pioneer in this area’s fight against environmental pollution.
David Killgore was lliving in Channelview in 1992, when a company formed by Kay Crouch announced a plan to build an incinerator on land near the DeZavala Elementary school, and to process and burn waste products from all over the United States.
After researching the process, and realizing that the incinerator would pollute the air and affect the health of those living close by, including the children in the school, Killgore formed an organization, Concerned Citizens Against Pollution to try to stop the project.
With the help of then State Senator Gene Green, the legislature passed a bill opposing the project, and it was signed by Governor Ann Richards. In spite of this, the EPA issued a permit for the project and Killgore’s group went to court to stop it. Their attorney, Jim Blackburn, got an injunction to stop the incinerator, but it was fought by Crouch and her investors for the next 8 years. The investors spent $21 million dollars versus CCAP’s $50,000. After the 8 years, and facing more court costs, the investor group abandoned the proposal, and Killgore’s CCAP had won.
Killgore and his wife Margaret now live in Ruidoso, New Mexico and he remarks about how clean the air is, compared to Houston.
Because the CCAP still had an active bank account, Killgore decided to donate all the remaining funds, $863 to the San Jacinto River Coalition for their efforts to clean up the Waste Pits and other environmental problems.
In her review of the latest update from the Dallas Office of the EPA, regarding the San Jacinto Waste Pits, Executive Director Jackie Young noted that the PRP will replace 69 signs that have aged too much. She also noted that a quarterly inspection had been made, with no visual damage present. Topographic and bathymetric surveys were also conducted, but their results were not yet announced.
Both Young and Killgore expressed concern that the EPA budget under President Trump may be cut a great deal, slowing or stopping some environmental Superfund clean-ups. She indicated that several groups nationally were considering a coalition that would be stronger than one, and able to negotiate better with the EPA. To further this action, she said SJRC should make a list of issues for national attention, from our own local experience. Members of the audience then made suggestions. Young indicated they would continue this effort until the end of the month.
Suggestions included making studies independent of industry backing; and the elimination of conflict of interest situations for those within government that must make environmental decisions.