Rep. Gene Green Voices Support for EPA Cleanup Plan
HOUSTON, TX – On October 20, Congressman Gene Green attended a public meeting hosted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to discuss and receive comments from the community about the EPA’s proposed cleanup plan for the San Jacinto River Waste Pits.
“For too long the communities of eastern Harris County have been put at risk by the hazardous material found in the San Jacinto Waste Pits Superfund site,” said Congressman Gene Green. “The plan presented by the EPA is the culmination of a decade of calls by community members and local officials to fully remove the waste and protect families and children from public health risks.”
The 14-acre San Jacinto River Waste Pits site consists of several hazardous waste ponds built in the mid-1960s for the disposal of paper mill wastes as well as other contaminated soils. The waste pits, which border the 29th Congressional District, were identified in 2005 and because of the work of Congressmen Ted Poe and Gene Green were designated a Superfund site in 2008. The waste pits are the reason for the elevated dioxin levels in sediment and sea life downstream and in Galveston Bay.
“I along with Harris County, the Galveston Bay Foundation and the San Jacinto Coalition support the EPA’s proposal to fully dredge the waste pits over permanently capping the waste because the plan adheres to federal law, which prefers cleanups that ‘permanently and significantly’ reduce contamination. Capping would provide a short term solution that could fail in the case of a natural disaster or equipment malfunction or deterioration.”
Rep. Green added, “Our office is aware of some of the concerns with dredging. We are also aware that the EPA will put in place controls that will limit possible spreading of contaminated soil during the cleanup and follow best management practices recommended by the Army Corps of Engineers, including doing the cleanup in stages to limit exposure from potential storms.”
“I thank the EPA, TCEQ, and Harris County officials for their commitment to protecting our communities and diligence in addressing the San Jacinto Waste Pits. We will continue to work until the hazardous waste and the threat to families and children is removed.”
Contact: Carlos Paz