Neighbors vow to fight chemical plant at Super Collider site

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by BRETT SHIPP

WFAA

Posted on January 31, 2012 at 10:56 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 1 at 3:06 AM

Super Collider site

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ELLIS COUNTY — Despite overwhelming objections from would-be neighbors, a large chemical plant operator has purchased the old Super Collider site west of Waxahachie.

The land deal comes on the heels of last October's Magnablend plant explosion in Waxahachie, and rural residents vow to continue their fight.

They don't mind the dormant neighbor that was once to be the home of the world's largest atom smasher; they just never envisioned that it could someday erupt — which is exactly what happened to Magnablend's central facility plant last October, just north of downtown Waxahachie.

The plant owner, Scott Pendery, has closed on the purchase of the old Super Collider complex. Neighbors now fear the worst.

"Property values are going to decrease," said Roger Hamilton, who lives just northwest of the proposed new chemical plant. "I worry about toxins leaking into the drinking water ... I worry about the smell of the place."

Just downwind of the proposed plant are much greener pastures, where more than 3,000 milk cows have grazed on a dairy farm since 1984.

"If they find any chemical release which would go into our grass, they could shut us down," said Fri-Tex Dairy farmer Kars Tamminga. "Not only that, but the co-op which buys our milk probably wouldn't buy our milk anymore."

Magnablend's owner says his plant will operate safely, and he hopes to have it up and running next year.

"Not so fast," say neighbors and opponents.

"We can start asking for environmental tests before their permit is granted, and that could tie up the process," said plant opponent Dave Vance. "We can request public hearings, which ties it up for another couple of months."

Residents are also talking about suing Ellis County Commissioners, who, opponents say, quietly paved the way for Magnablend's move by lifting a critical deed restriction.

Carl Watson, who lives a mile from the new plant, says neither he nor his neighbors are giving up.

"The big man may have won, but the old man hasn't given up fighting yet," Watson said.

E-mail bshipp@wfaa.com

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