An update on a story I’ve been following for a few years.
For the last two years, Waller County and the city of Hempstead have been pitted against each other in a high-profile legal battle over a proposed landfill in the city’s outskirts, a project many in the area see as both an economic and an environmental liability.
The proposed 250-acre Pintail Landfill has galvanized area residents and, in March 2013, prompted a lawsuit over the legality of the county’s agreement to allow the facility in an area just north of Hempstead, within the county’s borders. Since then, the case has been appealed numerous times – and its trial delayed accordingly – with the county submitting its most recent appeals just two weeks ago.
On Monday, the long-disputed case may finally go to trial.
“It’s going to be a real big trial for Waller County,” said County Commissioner John Amsler, who is named in the petition against the county but who opposed the landfill along with Commissioner Jeron Barnett. Amsler said he can’t remember any lawsuits of this magnitude in the county of more than 45,000 residents.
The trial, which is scheduled for Monday in retired state District Judge Terry Flenniken’s court, has been a long time coming, having been twice delayed from its original April date.
And although both the First Court of Appeals and the state Supreme Court denied Waller County’s most recent jurisdictional appeals in the final hours before the Thanksgiving holiday, it is still possible that the trial may be pushed back yet again.
James Allison, an attorney representing Waller County, cited outstanding questions about the county’s authority in Hempstead’s extraterritorial jurisdiction as the reason for the county’s most recent appeals. Friday, he reasserted the need for the trial to be postponed.
See here, here, and here for my earlier posts on this. This Chron story from August was about the judge denying a motion to move the trial elsewhere, and aiming for a November date to pick a jury. Close enough, I guess, assuming this doesn’t get delayed again. My sympathies are firmly with the plaintiffs here, for reasons stated in my previous posts. Landfills are yesterday’s solution. The goal should be for there to be no more need for them. The Citizens Against the Landfill in Hempstead website appears to be no longer active, and I couldn’t find a Facebook presence for them, but wherever they are, I’m with them. Good luck, y’all.