Weatherford Democrat

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January 29, 2013

Judge reverses TCEQ permit


“Obviously a lot of mistakes were made by the administrative judge who handled it at first.

“But I expect there will be a reapplication, and we’ll go through this again.”

 The hearing regarding The City of Aledo and The City of Willow Park versus TCEQ and Republic Waste Services of Texas was conducted Jan. 22 in the 345th Judicial District Court of Travis County with Judge Stephen Yelenosky presiding.

In a letter announcing his ruling, the judge said the administrative law judge “failed to do things most fundamental to conducting a ‘hearing’” by refusing to consider the admission of documentary evidence, failing to administer the oath and not applying the law equally.

“All this describes a proceeding that was not just deficient but unrecognizable as a contested case,” Yelenosky wrote. “The entire proceeding fell below the constitutional minimum for due process.”

Yelenosky also stated that the administrative law judge abused his discretion by denying the mayors of Aledo and Willow Park provisional party status or a continuance to establish authority.

The order issued by the judge states that an evidentiary hearing must be held before the State Office of Administrative Hearings if Republic wants to pursue its permit application.

At the hearing, according to the order, plaintiffs will be entitled to present evidence relevant to determining their status as affected persons entitled to participate in any contested hearing on the permit’s application.

The controversial waste transfer station, slated to be built near Nu Energy Road and I-20, behind Duncan Disposal, is opposed by Walsh Ranch developers, the Aledo school district and hundreds of residents, as well as city officials.

Malcolm Louden, of Walsh Ranch, said the appeal of the contested case hearing is the last step for developers.

“The judge’s decision gave voice to the concerns of the citizens of Aledo and Willow Park which were disregarded until now,” he said. “He did a great job of seeing through the smoke and mirrors we were fighting.”

Counsel for Republic Waste Services could not be contacted before press time.

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