Thursday, September 22, 2011

Public Health And Safety

What happens when another trailer spills sludge on city streets?  I'll tell you what won't happen -- the person being interviewed won't utter the words 'clean' or 'environment.'

Case in point:  City Manager Carlos Villarreal was interviewed by KGNS concerning a new spill and you get the gist of where the city's priorities are.
"We gotta make sure we have a steady balance between jobs and economic level and safety for the public."
He does mention safety there but it's somewhat disingenuous because one of the solutions he offers is to re-route the trailer traffic to Loop 20.  In other words, let the trailers have at it on Loop 20 and not near city hall.

He mentions that a commissioner on environmental quality will come in to train local law enforcement on state guidelines.  That's good, but what about the waste haulers themselves, and the foremen at the drilling sites?  Are they going to be made aware of the penalties and guidelines?  Where's the PSA for this?

The city likes to hand out tickets, and impound vehicles, but it does little to remedy the situation.  And as long as the Eagle Ford Shale pumps money into the local economy, our leaders aren't going to ruffle the feathers of those who are truly cashing in.  They'll just sit back and let the drilling boom work itself out, just as in Cotulla, where residents are being forced out because of higher rents.

This is truly unacceptable because these spills have been occurring for quite some time now, and city hall has done nothing about it.  And it looks like they're not going to do anything about it, either.  The best suggestion that comes from the city manager is to inform local law enforcement of what parameters they have to work with.  As a result, the offenders will pay a fine and they'll go back to posing a health and safety risk for the public all over again.    

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