Companies held responsible for cleaning up the San Jacinto Superfund site have disclosed involvement in three supposedly independent groups that popped up to protest an Environmental Protection Agency plan to permanently remove hazardous paper mill wastes from the capped pits east of Houston, according to a letter their attorneys provided to a Harris County judge.
Representatives of groups called Keep it Capped, Galveston Maritime Business Association and the San Jacinto Citizens Against Pollution have attended meetings, organized events and launched a website to support keeping the waste pit sites capped, even though the river front site frequently floods and leaked cancer-causing dioxin after Hurricane Harvey.
But the revelation of what attorneys called "significant participation" in those protest groups by at least one of the corporations required to fund EPA-ordered Superfund clean-up activities came to light only after Jackie Young, a long-time community leader and executive director of the Texas Health and Environmental Alliance, formally complained that she had been harassed by the groups.
"This is outrageous," Young said. "Such well-funded efforts distracted the Superfund process and could have drowned out the voices of our residents that received no funding from the responsible parties in this mess."