Hempstead residents in uproar over proposed landfill

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by Brad Woodard / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on March 26, 2013 at 6:17 PM

HEMPSTEAD -- There's a debate brewing in the city of Hempstead over trash. The city is suing Waller County from creating a landfill that would be just two miles from the Waller County Courthouse.

Just a stone’s throw from Highway 6 in Hempstead, the landscape remains pretty much as nature intended. In the middle of it all is Ivy Kolaja’s dream home.

She and her husband moved there after living in Houston for 26 years. They had just started construction on their house when they learned of a new neighbor potentially moving in across the road: a landfill.

“I think it’s devastating,” said Kolaja. “It’s devastating for the county and to the people who live in this area.”

Some argue it’s because of the people who live in the area that the site was selected in the first place.

“If you look at the demographics of the region, it’s largely minority,” said Hempstead resident Bill Huntsinger. “If you look at their economic status in life, they’re economically disadvantaged.”

And less capable, he said, of fighting back.

Critics said you couldn’t pick a worse site for a landfill if you tried. It sits atop an aquifer, and they’re concerned leaks could contaminate the water supply.

The city has gone so far as to file a lawsuit against Waller County in an attempt to stop the landfill from going in. A temporary restraining order has been granted.

Opponents of the landfill say the environment isn’t the only thing at stake here.

“It’s a gateway to the City of Hempstead,” said Huntsinger. “The economic future of this town just vanishes.”

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