February 20, 2017

On February 17, administrative law judges (ALJs) with the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) issued a Proposal for Decision (PFD) to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) recommending approval of 130 Environmental Park’s application for a Type I Municipal Solid Waste permit. This is a resounding endorsement of the technical merits of the 130 EP application filed with the TCEQ. The independent ALJs found:

  • no adverse impact on surface water or potential flooding from the landfill
  • no negative impacts on wetlands
  • no negative impact on the 100-year floodplain
  • the geology and hydrogeology of the subsurface are well-suited for the facility
  • the site is not located over an aquifer that provides drinking water nor is there evidence that the site could impact drinking water supplies
  • the facility will be compatible with surrounding land uses
  • traffic impacts were properly analyzed and approved
  • the site is designed in accordance with applicable regulations to protect the environment
  • the site operating plan complies with all applicable standards

The ALJs carefully reviewed the information and positions presented by all parties in the hearing process, including opponents of the project. They conducted a thorough, two-week hearing then sifted through thousands of pages of evidence, testimony, exhibits, and briefs. In the PFD, the ALJs agree with the information prepared and presented by 130 Environmental Park’s experts, who spent years investigating the site and the surrounding area and designing all aspects of the facility to meet or exceed all regulatory requirements. The ALJs suggested that the final permit expand the permit boundary to include the landscaping berm proposed by 130EP and all of the site entrance road, and to match the standard operating hours in TCEQ’s rules.

There are hundreds of standards that apply to the permitting of a municipal solid waste facility. The ALJs concluded that only three had not been completely satisfied: two regarding the timing of other approvals (TCEQ’s approval of the plan for the soil borings conducted at the site and a permit for the stream crossings for the site entrance road) and one related to the characterization of the easement for the reservoir located downstream of the site. The ALJs concluded that these minor issues do not affect the suitability of the site for the 130 Environmental Park facility and they recommend issuance of the facility permit.

We are extremely pleased with this outcome of the contested case hearing. The ALJs’ findings validate what we have been saying about the proposed site and project for more than three years.

Read the full order here.