GAINESVILLE, TX-Just over a year ago, concerned Cooke and Montague County residents requested a public meeting with Texas environment officials about a proposal to build an industrial sand processing plant in Cooke County near the Red River. Wednesday, these North Texans finally got the chance to speak with the TCEQ about their concerns. Cooke county residents said they're worried that the proposed sand plant Enron Oil and Gas wants to build on FM-373 could threaten their health and natural resources. Wednesday night, several people told TCEQ and EOG officials why they don't want it built close to their homes. Cooke and Montague county residents got into a heated discussion with the TCEQ and EOG concerned about whether the by-products of sand mining could contaminate the air in surrounding areas. Residents pointed out that compounds found in sand--like silicates--could cause respiratory diseases and even cancer. TCEQ attorney Betsy Peticolas said the agency called for this public meeting to address residents' questions and concerns before contested case hearings begin. Those hearings will ultimately decide if EOG's air permit application will be approved.
"I hope the people in charge here, obviously it's good to have these forums, but if the people on the stand are not gonna answer the questions or don't have the right answers or the authority, then they shouldn't make the decision for those who have the authority," said concerned citizen, Jim Mann.
"The real problems begin when they start operating. We're gonna have air pollution, that's our major concern, we're gonna have water problems, that's another major concern, we're gonna have truck traffic, emissions from those trucks," said another citizen, Ozlem Altiok.
TCEQ's contested Case Hearing on EOG's permit application starts Thursday. A judge will determine who will be affected by the sand processing plant and whether the plans to build can proceed. The public is invited to attend.
Cooke County Court Annex building. 112 South Dixon Gainesville, TX
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