Post Oak Landfill: Protestants file suit over TCEQ remand

Eric Allmon Environmental News, Landfills

A collection of landowners and local governments have filed a lawsuit in state district court challenging the failure of  the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to deny the permit application of   Post Oak Clean Green for a new landfill in Guadalupe County.  TCEQ remanded the application to the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) to give Post Oak a second chance to address a number of deficiencies, including the existence of unplugged oil and gas wells on the landfill site. The landfill is proposed for a site on the recharge zone of the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer.

The Post Oak landfill   has been a source of universal opposition from the local community since it was initially filed in 2011 for a number of reasons, primarily due to the threat to groundwater resources and the threat of bird-strikes with planes from Randolph Air Force Base used to train new pilots.

Stop Post Oak Dump, Guadalupe Count Groundwater Conservation District, Guadalupe County, the City of Seguin, the City of Schertz, and the Schertz-Seguin Local Government Corporation collectively challenged the issuance of the permit application at SOAH. A two-week evidentiary hearing was held in January 2016, where the collective Protestants offered technical evidence and expert witnesses to demonstrate the many deficiencies in the landfill application. Administrative Law Judges Bennett and Ramos released their opinion in September 2016 and, although they agreed that the “application does not comply with several requirements,” they made no recommendation regarding whether the permit should be issued.

In April 2017, the TCEQ Commissioners voted 2-1 to return the application to SOAH for further proceedings, despite agreeing that the application does not comply with several TCEQ regulations. One notable deficiency involved the presence of unplugged oil and gas wells located on the proposed landfill property that TCEQ rules required to be plugged by the time Post Oak filed its original application. One Commissioner agreed with the protesting parties that the failure of Post Oak to have plugged the wells requires denial of the permit.

The protesting parties filed their lawsuit in May, stating that the agency had violated its own rules when the Commissioners voted to remand the application for further revisions.

Links to articles regarding the case:

Motion could end Post Oak legal wrangle