News6 Investigates

Actions

Blackhorn Environmental permit renewal undecided by Railroad Commissioners

Posted at 10:49 AM, Mar 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-09 19:55:55-05

ORANGE GROVE, Texas — The three-member Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) declined to take up the Blackhorn Environmental Services agenda item during its regular meeting Tuesday, thus postponing a decision on the company's permit renewal.

RCC staff have recommended the renewal of the permit for another five years.

Blackhorn Environmental Services, based in Corpus Christi, was first granted a permit to operate by the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) in 2015. After some delays, the building process was completed in early 2019. The facility, near Orange Grove, handles non-toxic oil and gas waste. Residents, fearing strong odors and noise from heavily loaded tanker trucks, began voicing opposition to the facility back in 2013, when it was first proposed by the owners of Sable Environmental.

In 2014, Sable was sold to Ferrellgas. However, the land in question was not. So, a new company was formed (Blackhorn Environmental) to make use of the permit. The land was part of the Mosser family holdings for generations. Suzanne Mosser's husband, William Cocke, Jr., was connected to Sable Environmental, and is the part of Blackhorn's ownership.

Several times, residents have been treated for eye irritation, nausea and breathing problems related to odors from the Blackhorn facility. In addition, an inspector from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) became ill while taking air samples in response to a complaint. Still, the facility's inspection records have been within guidelines, according to the RRC, which has the sole discretion to renew Blackhorn's permit.

This is a developing story, stay with KRIS 6 News for updates.