Hazardous Spills Along Laredo Streets
Residents and environmentalists that once feared the affects of exploration in the Eagle Ford shale may now have another reason to be concerned.
Our Gina Benitez reports the transportation of harmful chemicals and toxic waste is now leading to spills along our local highways and streets.
It's our top story and a Pro 8 news exclusive tonight.
Last Wednesday, around two pm, John Kelly was on his way to a meeting with City Council. He was unprepared for what he saw next.
"We were like oh my God, it's leaking. We had learned a lot about fracking at the environmental meeting so we started taking the video. We had no idea what was about to happen. All the sudden, the light turned green and stuff started spilling all over."
Coincidentally, Kelly is part of a City Council environmental committee. He caught the entire incident on camera. Tricia Cortez, the executive director of the Rio Grande International Study Center claims the instances are occurring twice a week. The waste that comes from the drilling sites is brought through the city in open top dump trucks and often spills out onto the streets and cars.
"As the activity in the Eagle Ford Shale continue to really ramp up and escalate, so will the number of these trucks coming through our city and onto our city streets. And we want this practice to stop."
Committee members are asking for greater enforcement initiatives from City officials. They've discovered laws on the books that state these trucks can be fined up to $10,000. The environmentalists are hoping for some kind of ordinance to be enacted to strengthen the current laws.
"If there's no crew there, this can leach into our storm waters, into the creek. It's going to go into the river and this is the water that gets consumed. So this is something we're extremely concerned about."
No crews designated to clean up means money coming out of taxpayers' pockets. Environmentalists say the waste should be hauled in sealed vacuum packed trucks but isn't. Cortez says it isn't only up to City officials but also up to the gas operators that contract these truckers out.
"We don't want our city to be known as the city that because of this boom and the craze, say well if you wanna spill those toxins across our streets well that's okay."