Residents share dust bowl, lighting concerns from plant construction
Published 12:26 am Sunday, March 12, 2023
For 30 years, Michael Gypin has lived on a peaceful, country road where he enjoyed outdoor pursuits like long walks and barbecues.
This was the ideal home he planned to live out the remainder of his life. However, Golden Triangle Polymers bought 1,600 acres across the street and, he said, wreaked havoc on the quality of life of those who live on Foreman Road.
The plant and local leaders conducted a groundbreaking ceremony this week.
“There used to be a pasture filled with old, oak trees across the street from me,” Gypin said. “I used to walk down the road, through the pasture and sit against the trees and star gaze. It was a peaceful life.”
Gypin’s way of life has been disrupted in numerous ways from dirt fog to loud noises and plant lights.
“During the day, when I am working in my yard, a dust fog is constantly in the air,” he said. “When it gets too bad, I have to stop what I am doing and go inside. There is a loud, steady banging noise that goes on day and night that affects watching TV and sleeping. There are numerous light plants that keep my home lit up and trucks coming and going past bedtime hours.”
Golden Triangle Polymers Company Communications Lead Heather Betancourth said plant officials are taking several measures to control dust on the project site.
“Trees are currently being removed to install a security perimeter fence,” she said. “To help mitigate dust related to this work, we are sweeping Foreman Road. We are also watering the project site daily near Foreman Road and Western Avenue. The water trucks are refilled every four minutes with approximately 4,000 gallons of water to spray the ground in an effort to control dust.”
Kimberley Cook, Gypin’s neighbor, said she has endured damaged property due to the construction trucks.
“The workers have backed over our trash cans and fallen debris has cracked my daughter’s windshield,” Cook said. “I have lived here since 2017, but my parents have lived here most their lives.”
Cook’s grandmother recently invested in a deck built for outdoor activities that the constant dust prevents them from utilizing.
“The dust has prevented us from enjoying outside,” she said. “Our pool is filled with mud everyday, and we are forced to stay inside our home.”
The dust is also causing breathing difficulties for her grandmother.
“She is taking breathing treatments more often,” she said. “She has asthma, and this situation has debilitated her.”
Gypin said his neighbor has vented to him about her home life disruptions.
“She said her original plan after building her new home was to tear down the old home that sits in front of the property,” Gypin said. “But now, she is going to keep it standing to work as a shield against the dust. However, it doesn’t work too well. She said she sweeps and mops daily, yet she cannot walk around barefoot in her home because the gritty sand gets in every time she opens the door.”
Gypin said he reached out to municipal leaders for solutions. However, living outside the city limits has prevented changes to the issue, he said.
“I understand that progress is going to follow the completion of the plant,” he said. “But they came into our lives, created a massive disruption and it seems as if they do not care. The least they could do is sit down with us and work out a solution.”
Betancourth said project updates are posted to GTPC’s social media channels (@gtpctx).
A new GTPC website (goldentrianglepolymers.com) will launch soon and contain additional project information, as well as a contact form that people can use to reach out directly.
In the interim, anyone experiencing impacts from construction and lighting can contact 1-800-231-1212 or email@example.com.
By Sierra Kondos