Downhill for Webberville
A bill to help Webberville fight the landfill has found few friends
Webberville's attempts to not become a dump are going nowhere. Austin Rep. Dawnna Dukes' House Bill 1195 probably didn't have much of a chance anyway, since it had been stuck in committee since March 18, but more salt was rubbed into the wound May 5 when the Travis Co. Commissioners Court refused to support it. The bill would have given the tiny village the ability to block the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality from granting the city of Austin a landfill permit on land it owns in eastern Travis Co. (See "The Webberville Conundrum," June 6, 2008.)
Of the five court members, only Precinct 1's Ron Davis and Precinct 3's Karen Huber supported it. As originally reported in In Fact Daily, Precinct 2's Sarah Eckhardt told the court: "Would we like it if the city told us what to do? ... I don't know if there's another provision like this where a town of 300 has veto power over TCEQ and the city of Austin."
"I am disappointed for the whole of Travis County, and for eastern Travis County in particular, that has looked for leadership and direction from the county and has come to their state representative for relief," said Dukes. "It's a decision that would have required only one more member of the Commissioners Court, but I guess there's a greater fear of 'not in my back yard – if I help you, it might happen to me.'"
The court was hoping this session that the Legislature would grant counties greater land-use controls. "This was a bill that would have given the county more power and control as well," said Dukes, "so it's very interesting that the county Commissioners Court as a whole would want the broad support to be able to make changes but yet wouldn't want to give east Travis County that same power."
The deadline for House bills to be debated on the floor passed May 14, so presumably the bill is dead unless it can get attached to a Senate bill.