The city of Pearland is not planning to appeal a Travis County Court’s decision to dismiss its lawsuit against the operators of Blue Ridge Landfill, officials told Community Impact Newspaper.
The Travis County district court dismissed the case on jurisdictional grounds on Feb. 4.
Both the state of Texas and Blue Ridge challenged the city’s ability to sue, said Darrin Coker, attorney for the city of Pearland.
“In the end, the trial court determined that jurisdiction for this type of lawsuit is determined by the location where the odor is initially emitted, not an adjacent jurisdiction where an odor has a negative impact,” Coker wrote in an emailed statement.
The landfill, located at 2200 FM 521, Fresno, is outside Pearland city limits.
The suit, filed in July 2017, argued that the landfill violated state environmental and health regulations, citing nuisance odors reported by residents in the Shadow Creek Ranch neighborhood across the street. Pearland sought $1 million in damages and asked for the landfill to be temporarily shut down while the problem was resolved. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality fined the facility in the same month for violations and enacted an odor control plan in mid-2018.
“The City of Pearland encourages all citizens who believe they are negatively affected by odors from the Blue Ridge Landfill to report their complaints to both the State of Texas vis-à-vis the TCEQ and, based on the Court’s jurisdiction ruling, to Fort Bend County where the landfill is physically located,” Coker said in the email.
As of Feb. 1, a total of 6,306 complaints have been received by TCEQ regarding odors near the landfill, and the agency has conducted 197 investigations into those reports, according to an agency fact sheet.
In December, a federal court dismissed a lawsuit brought against the landfill by residents of Shadow Creek Ranch, saying the odor existed prior to the statute of limitations for the personal injury claim they were seeking.