‘We have concerns:’ Second Ward residents fight asphalt company’s permit renewal

HOUSTON – Second Ward residents are frustrated after attending a meeting Monday night about air quality on Houston’s eastside.

Attendees say they got very few answers from the state’s environmental regulators.

Community members in the Second Ward say they want to stop the Texas Materials Group’s Hot Mix Asphalt Plant from getting its air-quality permit renewed. They say the plant produces dangerous air pollutants that put them at risk.

“We have concerns about the particulate matter two-point-five (PM2.5), which is a very highly dangerous pollutant that can get into your lungs and exacerbate asthma, COPD, heart issues, and also affect pregnant mothers, small children, and the elderly,” said Leticia Gutierrez, Director of Government Relations and Community Outreach at Air Alliance Houston.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality required Monday’s meeting to answer questions.

“They are not answering questions. That’s basically their MO, that’s what they do. We call them the reluctant state regulators because they do a really good job of dodging,” said Gutierrez.

The location of the meeting, the Hampton Inn in East Houston, was also inconvenient for many people who live in the Second Ward.

“They chose this particular venue, eight miles away from the actual plant and the community that is being affected. It could have been at Ripley House, or even the school down the street or any of the other places where the community usually congregates and resides, or even at the church. There are two churches in the area where they could have easily held them,” said Gutierrez.

The TCEQ says the permit renewal process is lengthy and people will have another opportunity to ask questions.


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