Wednesday, September 4, 2013

No more excuses

A few days before the 381 Agreement for the proposed Central Texas Airport was approved, Cyndi Wright, editor of the Advertiser emailed Jim Carpenter this request:

“it looks like the possibility of approving a 381 agreement is on the agenda for Monday’s commissioner court meeting. Would you like to make a statement for the pre-meeting story?”

Within minutes, the developer emailed Geoff Connor and County Engineer Ronnie Moore for advice about what would be “best for the project’s success from both the County’s perspective as well as ours”. By the end of the day, Moore had taken charge and emailed a three paragraph blurb to both the Advertiser and separately (with an explanatory preface) to Jim Carpenter and Goeff Connor.

The first two paragraphs explain some basics about the 381 Agreement. But the third describes actions outside the 381 Agreement that “CTA must take in order to begin construction of the airport.”:

“CTA must still secure all necessary financing to purchase the land and obtain approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for modifications to the FEMA-designated flood plain. The project must also comply with the Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (TPDES) requirements as implemented and monitored byt the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.”

Mr. Moore may have been confused as to WHY the CTA needed a permit from the Corps - FEMA handles flood plain issues, the Corps domain is Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. But he was correct that approval from the Corps would be required.

So there you have it. We now know what Jim Carpenter knew and when he knew it. He was on notice BEFORE the 381 Agreement was in place that the Corps needed to be involved with the project. He ignored Ronnie Moore’s advice. If concerned citizens had not brought the project to the Corps’ attention would the developer have ever contacted the Corps? Or would airport construction have started without a permit in place? That seems like a real possibility. And what a mess that would have been!

So please Mr. Carpenter . . . no more whining about delays and no more excuses. You have no one to blame but yourself.

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