Harlingen tire plant still open after numerous complaints

After numerous complaints from Harlingen residents, a month long investigation was launched by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to determine if the Tire Recycling and Processing Plant in Harlingen were following the state health and safety requirements.

The results of the investigations showed they failed to comply with the approved "cost estimate for closure shipping and shredding."

Right now, the tire recycling plant is open but it can't operate after the Texas State Secretary relinquished the company's business certificate.

This decision comes one week after the Texas Attorney General's Office filed a civil lawsuit against the company for failing to comply with state health and safety standards.

The city of Harlingen says they tried to help the tire recycling plant comply with the requirements.

"We really worked hard with them to bring them back into compliance and at this point we are really sitting in the sidelines to let them lead with TCEQ," Carlos Yerena, Harlingen City Manager, said.

However the company didn't comply which prompted the Texas Attorney General's Office to file a civil lawsuit.

Yerena says that the city cannot shut down the plant since they don't have jurisdiction.

"The power lies with TCEQ because they regulate the health and safety of that processing center," Yerena said.

Yerena says they do offer certificates of occupancy but only if they meet with TCEQ requirements.

TCEQ offers the paralysis certificate, which allows the company to put in furnaces.

"The paralysis center, I understand this is potentially one of the few, potentially the only one in the nation," Yerena said. "So currently the city of Harlingen is not in a position to shut anybody. If anybody is going to do that then that belongs to the experts TCEQ."

Action 4 spoke with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality; they say it TMs the Texas Attorney General's Office who have the power to shut down the plant.

The first hear in the lawsuit is March 18th in Austin where court proceedings will begin.