Large crowd at meeting forces reversal
ALDINE – A large crowd of concerned residents of the Aldine area gathered last Thursday night at the Northeast Community Center, to hear details of another concrete batch plant application in their immediate area. The contentious meeting ended in a surprise, when the beleaguered company president stated that she was withdrawing the application. It seemed the residents had won.
The meeting was called by State Representative Armando Walle, and present were members of the TCEQ, or Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and representatives of the applicant company.
The discussion and comments made by the public were contentious, and at times very derogatory toward the company representative, Ms. Aileen Rivas, who said she was a part owner of the company and its president. Some of the speakers from the public said she did not have very thorough answers to their questions and concerns, and they questioned whether she really was the president of this company. She said that she had a partner who had the technical answers, but she declined to name him.
The meeting ran over its scheduled time, and as one speaker after another voiced their opposition to the application and the possibility of another concrete plant in their residential area, the company representative looked more and more defeated. Finally the TCEQ facilitator, who was in charge of running the meeting, privately queried the company and the TCEQ, and they announced that the application had been withdrawn.
The audience reacted with applause and enthusiasm, but as explained to the Northeast News after the meeting, the company could reapply at a later time if they wanted to. There is apparently no limit on how often or when the application can be made.
It is apparent in this meeting, and a previous meeting held to oppose the Rocket Materials proposed plant on Pinafore Lane, the TCEQ has very limited power to regulate or even evaluate proposals. They can only judge air pollution, not water, noise or traffic concerns.
In her opening remarks, Rivas had said that the plant would have dust collectors, recycle wash water, wash down exiting trucks, sweep the street, and only have about 7 trucks per hour. However the permit was for 24 hour operation, 7 days a week.
Audience questions centered on pollution to the air and noise for neighbors, and damage to streets already evident at other similar plants.
Speakers included Codey Williams of the AirAlliance, who spoke about the danger to health of the small particulate matter released by this type of plant.
Opposition speakers included Rep. Carol Alvarado, and Mike Light of Commissioner Garcia’s office. Rep. Walle said, “I respectfully ask Nomadic Aggregates to withdraw their application and find another use for the land.”