Residents wanted to know why they were kept in the dark about plans to bring a chemical plant to Killeen.

More than 100 people attended a community forum Thursday night at the Killeen Community Center to ask questions about the plant’s impact on the surrounding neighborhoods.

Council members Shirley Fleming and Steve Harris organized the meeting after residents plied them with concerns they couldn’t address, because they, too, had been kept in the dark.

The reason for the secrecy, according to John Crutchfield, executive director of the Killeen Economic Development Corp., was because MGC Pure Chemicals America required confidentiality for the deal to go through. That’s to ensure that the cost stays low and other companies do not become privy to any business dealings, Crutchfield said.

Residents asked questions of a panel that included Crutchfield and Stephen Minick, a former lobbyist and employee of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

The crowd was polite but seemed frustrated at times.

Despite Harris allotting three minutes for each question to be answered, Crutchfield began the night by taking far longer to answer a question. Later, Crutchfield appeared frustrated after residents took the microphone and repeatedly asked the same questions.

“I will also tell you that there’s a time value to money. And when these fellas want to go into production, they want to go into production. They want don’t want to deal with public elections,” Crutchfield said. “This is no different from the way it works in any other community in America. You may not like that, but that’s the way it works.”

Safety was the concern of many in attendance, especially those who live or work within close proximity of the Killeen Business Park.

Kathryn Bradley goes to Killeen Seventh-day Adventist Church on Rancier Avenue, near the plant’s future location. She stood up and asked for a guarantee that the senior citizens who lived in the area would be safe.

“I want to know the safety of these people,” she said. “I worship in that area. I want to be safe, not get a plant that can blow up or cause chemicals in our lungs.”

Minick insisted that there is no chemical runoff that will appear in the water, nor will there be any emissions from the chemicals being used.

“Personally, I wouldn’t be concerned living close to this myself,” he said.

Killeen Mayor Jose Segarra said he was there to explain the council’s role with the Killeen EDC. City Manager Ron Olson was not at the meeting.

Killeen Fire Department Chief Brian Brank described the precautions his department will take to prepare for a potential chemical spill.

The fire department will consider the plant a target hazard, meaning that it will preplan for any type of incident. KFD will take into consideration any fire suppression, fire hydrants, fire lanes and water supply needed to operate in case of an emergency.

“A whole lot of communities are vying for these types of industries,” Brank said. “Of course, there’s never a guarantee that no incident would happen.”

Though an agreement between MGC and the Killeen EDC has been signed, there is nothing that obligates MGC to build the plant in Killeen.

“They could walk out tomorrow,” Crutchfield said.

One member of the media asked Crutchfield if there was anything the residents could do to prevent the plant from being built. His answer? He didn’t know.

Both Segarra, who is a representative on the Killeen EDC, and Crutchfield reiterated that the reason they recruited MGC was because residents are constantly asking for better-paying jobs in the manufacturing industry.

Though residents in attendance complained that only 28 jobs would be created, the potential to bring more companies of the semiconductor industry could provide a great number of jobs in the future.

“I’m under the impression that you guys want a manufacturing company here, ” Segarra said to the audience. Several audience members spoke up, saying they didn’t want a potentially dangerous plant.

MGC has said the plant will create super-pure hydrogen peroxide and have hydrogen peroxide, sulfuric acid and sodium hydroxide on site.

Be sure to check Sunday's Herald in print and online for more information about what happened at the community forum. If you would like to share your thoughts about the planned chemical plant, click here to fill out our brief questionnaire.

254-501-7552 | sullivan@kdhnews.com

(7) comments

THUGNIFICENT KILLED ME

Pssst, citizen, over here. The city officials that say YOU elected them (many doubt you did) don't care what you want. They are your betters. As your patrons, you peons should bow your heads, remove your headgear, and don't look your betters in the eyes. Whatever your betters decide you peons better smile, keep your pieholes closed, and pretend you support it. Don't ever question your betters. You are a a peon, and the patrons know what is bets for them, and what scraps you can receive. Now, go look at the nice waterpark they built for you to view.Or, look at the old church that cost them $5,000,000 (yeah they said $3,000,000) but it was a little more than $5,000,000, plus the FREE $2,000,000 land they gave to the church they attend. On reflection, it was $7,000,000. See, that's KILLeen maths, people.

Alvin

This is the personal opinion of this writer.
@Oldwoman: I really don't see this as a viable plan, there is too much going against it. The viability of seeing this to fruition is going against the grain of so many people in his town, it is my personal observation that this town would be downright foolish to go ahead with the building of this plant.

Besides, I still do not have an answer as to what city function, administrative or otherwise, the ability to make a contract with a company, any company, that would be binding on this city council. They would be compromised if the vote of a city council without all of the council people being present, or nearly present, were in fact notified of pending motions to authorize the city of this agreement. I still have not been told 'where in this city charter is such an activity to be found'. I personally don't think it is in the city charter and as such, this group is and was operating without dully authorized authority. Of course that was the way this city operated, but to my way of thinking, 'not any more'.

So the case of a pending fire which would knock out the power, without a second and independent power feed from the Oncor power distribution system, without an independent source of an UPS and probably without a good functioning ESD system, and of course the option to provide a flaring system to relieve an over-pressure of the system to prevent any such facility explosion, I do not think that this plan will ever come to fruition, there is too many negatives against such an adventure.

But the scariest thing to me is 'this group operating under the guise of the city of Killeen, Texas without any 'apparent' authorization. That rings of the water facility that the previous council gave their blessing to and now we are struggling to keep our head barely above water. Strange how these things happen isn't it.

But as I say, this is only my personal opinion. Stranger things have came about.


This has been the personal opinion of this writer and nothing shall be used, in context or without or changed in any way without first notifying, and receiving explicit approval from this writer.
One of the 4.58 % who voted.

SnowWhiteNthe7Thieves

This won't end well, people.

OldWoman

The cost of incentives is not proportionate with minimal job opportunities.
The danger to our community, especially the immediate neighborhoods is not excusable. What will be done about our shaky power grid? As soon as the temperatures rise, we have power outs in North East Killeen. What will happen if such a large load will be added to this grid? The safety of this plant depends on the electricity being fully functioning. WIthout cooling we have explosions, fires. With fires come toxic fumes. We have several senior communities in the immediate vicinity of this plant. I, myself, have asthma with smoke being a major trigger.
I do not want this plant here. But then again, I did not want the Juvenile Correctional Facility, the Mickey's Drug Store - Oh, I mean corner store - nobody asked us about the Family Dollar / Dollar General adjacent to Mickey's anymore. They KNEW we did not want it in our neighborhood.
The same will happen with this chemical company. They will come into Killeen and build their plants and the CIty of Killeen will shove freebies up their rich hineys and pat themselves on the back to have created an additional 48 positions over the course of the next 5 years.

eyewatchingu

Hey look it's that racist woman Patsy Bracey, that cheats, and wants to wine and dine people to vote for her, also calls white women White B**ch , she also hire's people to tell people someone isn't running, along with stealing other people's ideals and thoughts. If she runs for Mayor, which she is planning to do and is already asking for donations from the woman's democrat party, Killeen tx is really doomed. It's okay, the peeps with IQ's in Killeen will not vote for her as soon as she opens her mouth and sees her for what she is. A lair, fraud and more. I wonder how much in illegal funds she has all ready received.
My Opinion, given to me by my first amendment right.
My intellectual thoughts and ideals are also protected, and anyone stealing them is committing a crime. So come up with your own. Also any one running for Mayor, do not give your answers to KDH news, they will feed them to Her and others they support. Use any other news source.

Alvin

This is the personal opinion of this writer.

Copy: 'Residents wanted to know why they were kept in the dark about plans to bring a chemical plant to Killeen.' End of copy.

Now that 'IS' the question, and not only for this reason stated, but in practically 'all' of this city's operations.

Copy: 'The reason for the secrecy, according to John Crutchfield, executive director of the Killeen Economic Development Corp., was because MGC Pure Chemicals America required confidentiality for the deal to go through. That’s to ensure that the cost stays low and other companies do not become privy to any business dealings, Crutchfield said.' End of copy.

Now that just doesn't hold water with me or anyone else of normal intelligence. Why was certain councilmen. the mayor, able to maintain 'secrecy', but not the other members of the council???? Why is it that 'there has not been a large 'rush' to get on-board now that the word is out???? Why is it not apparent that 'the council can maintain a secret as evidenced by the secrecy that 'IS' maintained with other 'secrets' that goes on 'behind closed doors'???? That just doe not hold water for me.

Copy: 'Residents asked questions of a panel that included Crutchfield and Stephen Minick, a former lobbyist and employee of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.' End of copy.

This statement 'just gave the farm away, 'Stephen Minick, a 'former lobbyist and employee of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality'.

Copy: 'The crowd was polite but seemed frustrated at times.' End of copy.

I wonder why????

Copy: “I will also tell you that there’s a time value to money. And when these fellas want to go into production, they want to go into production. They want don’t want to deal with public elections,” Crutchfield said. “This is no different from the way it works in any other community in America. You may not like that, but that’s the way it works.” End of copy.

So this statement seems to be that 'BIG BUSINESS DICTATES ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING'. So it does not matter 'what you think', 'YOU DO NOT MATTER'. Now if I have misstated this, please feel free to come aboard and restate you answer.

In this country, or at least it used to be this way, I can quote you a couple of good reasons 'WHY' it should not be this way; 'A person's home is his/her castle', 'The home owner should be considered to be in the minds eye of a developer 'if' the developer wants to stay in business, and so on.

Copy: 'Minick insisted that there is no chemical runoff that will appear in the water, nor will there be any emissions from the chemicals being used.
“Personally, I wouldn’t be concerned living close to this myself,” he said.'

Continuation of copy: 'Killeen Fire Department Chief Brian Brank described the precautions his department will take to prepare for a potential chemical spill.' End of copy.

Now that's a statement of 'duality in the course of conversation' if I ever heard one; 'There will be no chemical runoff nor there will be no emissions from the chemicals being used', and then 'Fire Chef Brian Brank', described what precautions his department will take for a 'potential chemical spill'. What about PSV's, or other pressure reliving devices???? What about 'in the case of fire'???? and 'what about other containment's that can be exhausted to the atmosphere, such as: hydrogen peroxide, sulfuric acid and sodium hydroxide'. Now careful how you answer, 'does the now chemicals poise a direct threat to citizens if released into the atmosphere'???? This is a typical question I would have poised to this answer.

Copy: 'The fire department will consider the plant a target hazard, meaning that it will preplan for any type of incident. KFD will take into consideration any fire suppression, fire hydrants, fire lanes and water supply needed to operate in case of an emergency.' End of copy.

Question: 'What about an electric failure such as just happened recently???? Of there was an electrical failure resulting in loss of refrigeration, 'would there be a resulting explosion'????

Copy: 'One member of the media asked Crutchfield if there was anything the residents could do to prevent the plant from being built. His answer? He didn’t know.' End of copy.

Evasive answer, he should know 'what the answer would be; 'kill the project, choose another locale that would indeed be a safer location, and one that would 'reduce' the proximity of danger to citizens. It would be like 'an airport is to be built. One, if the airport site is chosen to be 'out in the boon docks and when built, the populace encroaches and builds 'close to the airport then gripes about noise pollution', and then this case of 'citizens living in the vicinity of a 'Industrial Park' and the 'owners of the industrial park' encroaches and wants to build an environmentally sensitive manufacturing plant, 'Who is right'???? Do the 'owners of the industrial Park' have an obligation to the citizens, 'disrupts any occasion of secrecy', to the citizens r should they be allowed to proceed????

Something to think about.

Copy: 'Killeen Mayor Jose Segarra said he was there to explain the council’s role with the Killeen EDC. City Manager Ron Olson was not at the meeting.' End of copy.

Of course not..... He is not one of the principals of this consortium.

Copy: '“A whole lot of communities are vying for these types of industries,” Brank said.' End of copy.

We the citizens of Killeen have just been given 'the fear tactic', the fear that if you don't 'jump on the band wagon, this opportunity might be lost.

Copy: 'Both Segarra, who is a representative on the Killeen EDC, and Crutchfield reiterated that the reason they recruited MGC was because residents are constantly asking for better-paying jobs in the manufacturing industry.'

Continuation of copy: 'Though residents in attendance complained that only 28 jobs would be created, the potential to bring more companies of the semiconductor industry could provide a great number of jobs in the future.'

Continuation of copy: “I’m under the impression that you guys want a manufacturing company here, ” Segarra said to the audience. Several audience members spoke up, saying they didn’t want a potentially dangerous plant.' End of copy.

It is not a question of 'recruiting to get higher paying jobs' all 28 of them that it has been said that the positions could be doubled to allow for the placement of temporary positions which wold not qualify for 'higher paying positions, but instead 'the recruitment should be 'The recruitment of safety concerns for the citizens of this existing community and the potential new members of this community.

By the way, it is a known practice for a foreign company to require at least their senior management to be employees of the company. How many ;other's' does this company intend to employee and not citizens of this city. In other words, how many 'local' positions would there be and what salary would be offered????

I seem to get the feeling 'that a company representative was not in attendance. Does that give you any indication as to 'why this company wants to be located in this area????

This has been the personal opinion of this writer and nothing shall be used, in context or without or changed in any way without first notifying, and receiving explicit approval from this writer.
One of the 4.58 % who voted.

timebandid

I do not believe that much, in the way of financial incentives, should be given to a company that will only generate 28 new jobs. It is probably likely that half of these jobs will be filled b people outside of the city of Killeen, since several of them will be highly qualified chemists. So the economic impact for or city would be very slight, while the city must assume the financial responsibility of cleanup, in the event of a spill or fire. That does not even take into account the long term effects of ground contamination, if such an event occurred. Yes, Mayor Segarra, we would like to see industrial manufacturing/well-paying jobs come to Killeen, but this doesn't seem to fit the bill when we consider the benefits versus costs.

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