East Aldine – State Representative Armando Walle hosted a public meeting Monday night at BakerRipley Center, for the public to discuss their opposition to the proposed Rocket Materials concrete batch plant to be built on a site at 914 Pinafore Lane, near Aldine-Bender Road.
The opposition is being organized by community leader Marina Sugg, representing a number of civic clubs and individuals.
As part of the permitting process by the state, a public hearing is allowed, with TCEQ officials attending to hear comments. These comments are then taken into consideration for the final okay on the permit, or modification of denial occurs.
Marina Sugg, in an email to the community, said, “We already have at least 3 other cement plants in East Aldine, and I have reliable information that an application for yet another cement plant may soon be submitted. Construction companies put these cement plants here because few residents speak up against them. These companies do not care that the dust, powder and mess produced by these plants affect the lives and health of the resident in our area.”
In their application, Rocket Materials states that “the proposed facility will emit the following air contaminants: particulate matter including (but not limited to) aggregate, cement, road dust, and particulate matter with diameters of 10 microns or less and 2.5 microns or less.” The application, executive director’s preliminary decision, and standard permit are available for viewing and copying at TCEQ offices and the Aldine Branch Library on Airline Drive.
In a related matter, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee has sent a letter to TCEQ about another proposed cement plant, to be built in the Acres Homes area, not far from Aldine. She has asked the agency for a public hearing on the plant proposed at 3411 DeSoto Street in Acres Homes.
In her letter to TCEQ, she states “I share the concerns of Acres Homes residents about the significant adverse health effects this plant could have on neighborhood residents. Cement manufacturing plants, like the kind proposed for DeSoto Street, produce fine particulates that can be aspirated into the upper respiratory system and can invade the lower respiratory system, triggering asthma and obstructive pulmonary disease respiratory distress. Moreover, a study published in the European Respiratory Journal in 2011 identified a link between dust generated during cement manufacturing and inflammation of existing lung disorders and a contributing factor in the development of lung disorders.”
The TCEQ has scheduled a meeting on Oct. 9 for this application, but Congresswoman Lee wants it held in the Acres Homes neighborhood so residents can voice their opinions.