Robertson County Facility at Center of Controversy

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A Robertson County gas treatment facility is open for business despite complaints by area residents.

A temporary restraining order was issued to close the plant operated by Energy Transfer Company. However, that restraining order was never enacted. The same court that issued the order stayed it.

This all comes after several residents claimed emissions from the plant were causing health problems and property losses.

Judy Evans is one of 10 Robertson County residents suing Energy Transfer Company. She says the plant is producing an odor that smells like rotten eggs.

The smell is blamed on hydrogen sulfide, a toxic gas that in high concentrations can be lethal.

Evans is not only complaining about the odor. She says she's experiencing a slew of health problems from headaches to nose bleeds.

"I can leave here and I feel 100 percent better," Evans said.

She says her dog breeding business is also declining.

"My dogs have decreased where I was getting 400 puppies a year," Evans said. "I don't even have 75 dogs this year. They're aborting their puppies early. That's all it can be. Nothing else has changed."

The state says the emissions are within legal quantities, but the plant has been asked to reduce nuisance odors. The plant has been open for two years, and since then state officials have made several visits because of citizen complaints. The Railroad Commission has visited more than two dozen times. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has visited 50 times.

The plant has been cited only once for an odor violation, that was in June of 2005. TCEQ says the plant made adjustments after that visit.

Thursday Energy Transfer Company released this statement:

"Energy Transfer's Franklin treating facility has been and continues to be in compliance with all state rules," Defense Attorney Andy Taylor said. "However, we are working with local and state officials to understand the current inquiry."

Evans says she just wants to see something done.

"I don't want to shut them down," Evans said. "I just want them to be environmentally safe, respect the people around here, and just clean up their act."

A hearing is set for September 25 in Robertson County. It will be decided then if the stay to the order to temporarily shut down the plant will continue.