Congressman Gene Green

29TH Congressional District Of Texas

Congressman Ted Poe

2nd Congressional District of Texas


March 28, 2007

Texas Congressmen call on EPA to clean dangerous industrial waste site

Washington, D.C. Congressman Gene Green (D-Texas) and Congressman Ted Poe (R-Texas) have called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to clean up a long-forgotten industrial waste site that has poisoned the San Jacinto River for decades.

The contaminated area of the river east of Houston, which serves as a food source and recreation area, sends dioxin-laced sediment all the way to Galveston Bay. This mess is threatening the health of Texans and its not going to go away by itself, Green said. If we dont take responsibility for cleaning it now, the problem will only get worse.

Green and Poe both represent areas affected by the contamination. The San Jacinto River area has long been a recreational site for families in eastern Harris County, said Poe. The pollution caused by the waste site threatens the quality of life and the health of the folks that live along the river and we can not continue to ignore the seriousness of this situation. In a letter dated March 23, they asked the EPA to designate the zone a Superfund site for the health and safety of our constituents.

The Superfund program was enacted allow the EPA to require responsible parties to clean up contaminated sites. If the parties can not be located or are unable to clean the sites, the EPA may use money from the Superfund Trust Fund to clean up the contaminated areas.

Dioxin levels in the San Jacinto River had been mysteriously high for years in spite of measures designed to reduce pollution from nearby industry. In 2005, scientists discovered that an industrial waste pit operated in the area until about thirty years ago. Over time, the pit became submerged in the river, and the company that operated the pit went out of business.

Dioxin is an organic compound that can cause cancer and other health problems. Children and pregnant women are especially vulnerable to its effects.