Concrete plant company sues, claiming defamation

Kevin Schwaller - DRIPPING SPRINGS, Texas (KXAN) -- A company planning to build a concrete batch plant is suing some of its opponents, saying they are making false statements and defaming the company. The lawsuit asks for between $200,000 and $1 million in damages. An attorney for the company says it is the right range for this kind of suit under Texas law.

Critics say the plant would be too close to schools and they have health concerns. The website for opponents of the batch plant now asks: "Will lawsuits force this website to go dark?"

Radio DJ Bama Brown talked to KXAN News for a previous story about the plant. The lawsuit names him for his public comments, as well as the parent company for the radio station where Brown works. The suit also names another woman for comments it says she made online. Brown did not want to comment for this story, but confirmed the existence of the lawsuit.

Partner at Expedition LLC, Paul Albini, released a statement Tuesday:

"The First Amendment guarantees the right to free speech; however, laws are in place to protect individuals and businesses from false, misleading and defamatory statements that cause harm. Expedition LLC & Drippin Wet Concrete exercised its right to protect itself from the individuals disseminating such harmful and defamatory statements. A copy of the Petition is on file at the Hays County Courthouse. It contains a general recitation of the allegations against the defendants."

A letter from State Rep. Jason Isaac, R-Dripping Springs, and the level of public interest is triggering a public meeting from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, according to a spokesperson for the TCEQ. However, the commission has yet to set a date for that.

"If a concrete batch plant is operated in accordance with its permit, we would not expect adverse impacts on health," said TCEQ spokesperson Andrea Morrow in an email to KXAN News.

The company is also trying to get its message to the community through a new website.

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