Former Formosa employee testifies in day two of civil suit

Day two of civil trial involving Formosa Plastics

The civil suit against Formosa Plastics continued on Tuesday at the Victoria County Courthouse. Both the defense and the plaintiff brought more witnesses to the stand to testify.

Former employees like Mr. Rousser who took the stand Tuesday afternoon was a Formosa supervisor for more than a decade.

He testified how he interpreted the culture of the company saying on the stand that once he became part of upper management he was told, ” You’ll learn about Formosa and do things for Formosa that will make it a profitable company, and you cannot discuss those things ” .

However, the defense questioned Rousser’s motives as the former employee was terminated for bad conduct while on the job. Another topic very much examined was the current permits TCEQ, the regulating commission, has in place for Formosa Plastics.

Plaintiff’s (San Antonio Bay Waterkeepers ) called to the stand a retired TCEQ employee, Donna Philips, to give an expert report on the findings of plastic pellets in Cox Creek and Lavaca Bay.

The interpretation of the permit was discussed by the defense attorney Steve Ravell , who stated there is no written definition of what is considered more than a trace amount of solid discharge to be filed as a violation with the TCEQ.

Formosa’s last violation in 2016 included 6 different cases, and a more than a $120,000 fine. However, 2016 was the same year Formosa’s permit was renewed.

Defense introduced their first witness to the stand. Mr. Brogger a current Formosa employee who is in charge of TCEQ visits. On the stand he explained the timeline of Formosa’s efforts to eliminate pellet discharge in late 2015. This of course was before TCEQ even released a notice of violation.

Many of the Tuesday’s arguments were solely based on language used in such permits issued by TCEQ. Defense is expected to bring more witnesses to the stand starting Wednesday morning.

The trial began Monday morning with opening statements from both parties addressing the evidence of plastic pellets found in Texas waterways.

Two witnesses were called to the stand on the first day of the trial recounting how they saw and collected plastic pellets.

The first witness is a volunteer with San Antonio Waterkeepers . The witness explained how he would go to the bays and start collecting the plastic pellets. He detailed the way the collection samples were specified by date, time, wind direction, and location.

The witness added that he found different types of pellets, some newer, some older, some caught in the vegetation and some floating in the water.

The second witness, Michael Marge, who is not affiliated with San Antonio Bay Waterkeepers has spent most of his whole life in Point Comfort. Marge said he started noticing the pellets in 2016 when he would go out on his boat; and reported seeing them as recently as early March 2019.

The trial is expected to last the rest of the week. We will keep you updated as the trial unfolds.

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