Gold Coast Commodities asked a Rankin County judge to restore its wastewater permit while it appeals a decision by the state Permit Board to revoke it.
The filing was made on Monday as attorneys for the Brandon-based chemical manufacturer prepare to make their case before Rankin County Chancery Court Judge Troy Odom on June 24 at 9 a.m.
The key to Gold Coast's argument is a decision by the state Ethics Commission that said that emails between Permit Board members discussing revocation of the permit should've been done at an open meeting where the Brandon-based chemical manufacturer could've had a chance to respond. Gold Coast says in the filing that the communications were unlawful and “lend further strength to the point that the Permit Board's actions were arbitrary and capricious because they were predetermined and then documented in a way government rarerly signals its intentions to violate the rights of its citizens.”
Attorneys for Gold Coast argue that the chemical company is already facing enhanced scrutiny as a result of the November 19 order issued by the Commission on Environmental Quality that mandated Gold Coast pay more than $505,000 in fines for 11 violations related to the disposal of its wastewater at the Pelahatchie lagoon.
Gold Coast utilizes a process to convert used cooking oil and soapstock — which is a byproduct which originates from the refining of soybean and other oils — into animal feed and biodiesel using sulfuric acid. The company’s wastewater disposal has been the subject of numerous enforcement actions by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and a lawsuit by the city of Brandon over damage to its sewer system from the corrosive wastewater from Gold Coast. Three contractors that worked at the Pelahatchie lagoon have also filed suit against the company after they say they were overcome by noxious fumes at the site.
On April 13, the Permit Board revoked Gold Coast’s permit to dispose of its wastewater in a Pelahatchie lagoon and the company filed a challenge on April 16 in Hinds County Chancery Court .
A judge’s order moved Gold Coast’s challenge to Rankin County, where Gold Coast does its business.
The disposal of Gold Coast Commodities wastewater is also the subject of a federal investigation that has yielded one indictment of a contractor who illegally dumped the untreated wastewater into the city of Jackson’s sewer system. Andrew Walker, the owner of Rebel High Velocity Sewer Services, pleaded guilty in January to federal water pollution charges.