Update: Formosa trial evidence now under review

Day four concludes with no closing statements

Update 3/28/2019 4:30 p.m.:

The judge presiding over the Formosa civil suit, the honorable Kenneth M. Hoyt, opted for no closing arguments Thursday afternoon on the fourth day of the trial.

The case and all of its evidence have now been officially submitted to judge Hoyt for review.

The plaintiff, San Antonio Bay Waterkeepers is feeling confident after this week’s trial. ” They have spent 60 million dollars or something in that neighborhood, on improvements around the plant to try to stop the leakage of these pellets and powders. Our view is you can’t really do it without some more wholesale reconstruction of the infrastructure, ” said David Frederick, Plaintiff lawyer.

The defense lawyer declined to give a comment saying, ” Formosa doesn’t go on camera regarding ongoing litigation, ” said Stephen Ravel, Formosa’s lawyer.

When this trial first began the judge agreed to break this up into two phases. The first phase deciding if Formosa was at fault for anything, and the second will be a punishment phase. The second phase is expected to conclude by Summer 2019.

Original story 3/28/2019 12 p.m.:

On the fourth day of the civil suit against Formosa Plastics, the defense called their final witness to the stand Thursday morning.

Rick Crabtree, a current plant manager for Formosa, Texas in Point Comfort was the final witness questioned by both the defense and the plaintiff, San Antonio Bay Waterkeepers .

The line of questioning focused on the interpretation of Formosa’s permit from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). There is specific language in the permits defining how much discharge is allowed to leave the plant. Formosa is allowed about 3,000 pounds per day of solid discharge.

Crabtree was questioned by the Plaintiff to see if he knows what a trace amount means. Crabtree argued that TCEQ doesn’t provide a clear definition of what a trace amount is. He reiterated Formosa’s efforts to minimize the discharge of plastic pellets into the environment.

Formosa contracted a cleanup crew called Horizon that cleans up the pellets in and around Cox Creek and Lavaca Bay.

The Plaintiffs countered by explaining that Formosa has had permissions since 1993 to make pellets so there are potentially 26 years of pellets in Texas waterways.

Update: Formosa trial evidence now under review

Crabtree argued that “legacy” pellets are not distinguishable from new pellets as there is not a way to measure the age of a plastic pellet according to the defense.

As of Thursday afternoon, all evidence has been presented and the court is preparing for closing statements. We will keep you updated as the remainder of the trial unfolds.