Aransas County Judge C.H. “Burt” Mills, during the Aransas County commissioners’ regular meeting Monday, Jan. 13, read a letter he sent to Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) Executive Director Toby Baker. The letter was in response to a guest column published in the Wednesday, Jan. 8 edition of the Rockport Pilot in which the author, Jennifer Shaw, expressed her disbelief the TCEQ hasn’t informed Aransas County elected officials about the potential harmful affects of proposed discharge into Copano Bay by major industrial plants located outside Aransas County.

Mills’ letter, in its entirety, is as follows:

Dear Mr. Baker.

I’m responding to an article published in the Rockport Pilot on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020 – “What will happen to Copano Bay when Sinton Steel plant opens?” (See attached article). This article refers to the steel manufacturing company Steel Dynamics Southwest LLC operated from Fort Wayne, IN. They are planning to open a steel manufacturing plant, which will dump 1,560,000 gallons of treated steel manufacturing wastewater to Copano Bay.

More than half of Copano Bay is in Aransas County. No information or environmental study was provided to Aransas County Commissioners Court regarding the construction of the plant, production, and wastewater dumping. I believe this amount of wastewater will negatively affect the quality of the water in Copano Bay. Copano Bay is a pristine ecosystem and natural habitat for large amounts of sea life and some endangered species.

Please furnish to Aransas County, TCEQ’s documented studies, evaluations, and pending permits pertaining to this emergent and impacting construction project. In addition, are there any upcoming scheduled public hearings substantiating such topic? And if there is none scheduled, I would like to know why this concern was not presented to the public, and I would like to request one in Aransas County.

On behalf of Aransas County I respectfully request an immediate response detailing all aspects to which these dire and traumatic implementation will incur.

Respectfully,

s/C.H. “Burt” Mills, Jr.

County Judge

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