Saturday, July 23, 2016

Elections Tied to Post Oak Dump

The proposed Post Oak Dump is an ongoing controversy in Guadalupe County similar to one in Maverick County near Eagle Pass over a coal mine operated by Dos Republicas Coal Partnership. Both projects require permits from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). In both situations the citizens of the area have brought up significant concerns over damage to local water resources.

In Maverick County, despite long opposition from local residents and environmental groups like the Sierra Club, Dos Republicas has received TCEQ permits to expand its operation and to discharge waste-polluted storm water and mine seepage into nearby Elm Creek, which feeds the Rio Grande — the source of drinking water for many Maverick County residents — and Hediondo Creek, a recreational fishing stream.

In Guadalupe County, the fight to prevent Post Oak Dump from acquiring a permit from TCEQ continues because residents fear that storm water runoff will become contaminated by the refuse buried there and carry those contaminants into the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer recharge zone thereby adversely affecting drinking water in the area.

Whether project opponents in Maverick County or Guadalupe County realize it these fights are related to who we elect as Texas Governor and as our state legislators. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is run by appointees of the governor and his views on environmental protection versus the interests of business have a tremendous effect on the decisions made by the agency. As Maverick County residents have recently learned business interests outweigh safe, clean water needs in the minds of TCEQ decision makers. Of course that’s not surprising when you consider that Gov. Abbott leads a party whose state platform calls for eliminating the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

State legislators also have an impact on the decisions the agency makes through passing laws and budgets. This November we have an opportunity to affect the Post Oak Dump decision by who we vote for in the race for Texas House District 44. Incumbent John Kuempel has publicly opposed the project but has done nothing to change the process which led to the preliminary permit or that might prevent approval of a final permit. We can re-elect our current Republican who has supported the Governor at every turn or we can send a message that we’ve had enough by electing Robert Bohmfalk instead.

It could take a generation to truly change the course of the TCEQ even if we elected good environmental stewards to every state office because our overly business friendly Governors have appointed commissioners with the same philosophy to the agency which then is passed down through the hiring process for agency employees at every level. If we don’t start now we won’t see improvement in our lifetimes.


  1. Published in the Seguin Gazette July 15, 2016

  2. Published in the Seguin Gazette July 15, 2016