Mineola residents oppose concrete plant project near nature reserve

MINEOLA, Texas (KLTV) – A popular attraction in east Texas faces the possibility of an industrial company setting up shop next door, forcing area residents to object to its presence.

The Mineola Nature Reserve, which draws thousands of visitors to Wood County each year, is located on 2,911 acres of land and is home to East Texas animal species that can fly, walk, crawl, and crawl. , and is home to over 193 species of birds, numerous wildlife, buffaloes, longhorn cattle and a pristine wetland environment.

Now, a group of citizens have made it their mission to save the reserve from nearby industrial development.

Bell Concrete Inc. has applied for an air quality permit to build a concrete batching plant near Mineola Nature Reserve.

Some residents of Mineola are concerned that the plant will harm the nature reserve, so they have started a campaign called Preserve Mineola. They are not against the concrete batching plant itself; they say they just think it could be put in a better place away from the reserve.

“Where it will be in this pristine area is just abstract from what it was originally designed for,” said Joe Moore, member of Preserve Mineola.

The campaign is seeking to garner enough feedback by April 4 so that they can request a public meeting with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. TCEQ determines whether the concrete batching plant receives the air quality permit that would allow the plant to be built. The groups believe TCEQ should hear their concerns before making a decision.

“By getting our public comments on the permit application, it basically means at TCEQ that we would like our voices to be heard that we need to have a public meeting to talk about this very important issue,” said Mary Williams.

Although the nature reserve is owned by Mineola, the neighboring lands on which the plant will potentially be located fall under the jurisdiction of Wood County and are privately owned. Several city leaders plan to write letters expressing concerns about the location of the plant.

If the plant obtains TCEQ approval, it will be operational by June 2021. This schedule is worrying for Martha McHenry, owner of Grand Oaks Winery, neighboring the nature reserve. She fears that the concrete batching plant will have an impact on the growth of her grapes.

“So as a winegrower, as a vineyard owner, as a winegrower, I’m very concerned that all of these things are going to be affected by the particles in the air that would drift to the water sources that are our main source of water. that’s a pond on site, ”McHenry said.

KLTV has contacted Bell Concrete Inc. regarding the concerns of several citizens regarding the potential location of the plant and they said they would follow Texas state laws, and they have no further comment.

To leave a public comment on the Preserve Mineola plant, click here.

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