By John Waters, Publisher
Tom Beard, board member of the Brewster County Groundwater Conservation District, was arrested this afternoon shortly before 2 pm at the Pumpco, Inc. pipeline site just outside Alpine city limits.
This morning the Brewster County Groundwater District held a regular meeting and heard public comment from Suzanne Bailey, a resident who lives next to the Pumpco, Inc. site. Bailey told the district about an old residential water well on the site and is now being used for industrial purposes.
After the meeting, board member Beard, board chairman Virgil Clark, district executive manager Conrad Arriola, traveled to the site, joined by John Waters, publisher of the Gazette, and Suzanne and Tommy Bailey.
Art about 10:30 am, the conservation district trio entered the Pumpco site in search of a supervisor with whom they could talk with regarding a needed permit from the district. The first employee contacted said he spoke very little English and it was his first day on the job. The second employee refused to talk and the third said he would contact his (unnamed) supervisor. This employee said the supervisor would be on scene in 45 minutes.
About 90 minutes later a Pumpco employee arrived and told Beard and Clark to leave the property or they would be arrested. Ariola had left the property. Shortly thereafter, Brewster County Sheriff Deputy Doug McIntyre arrived and spoke to Beard, telling him he needed to leave or face arrest. Beard and McIntyre began a nearly two-hour debate, with Beard refusing to leave unless he and Clark, acting on behalf of the conservation district, be given the name of the Pumpco employee so they could send him a letter informing Pumpco of the need to obtain a permit. The employee refused to disclose his name to Beard, Clark, or the Gazettte. The deputy also refused to disclose the employees name and told Beard he would do so as soon as he would leave the property.
Shortly before 2 pm, two additional deputies arrived and Beard was handcuffed and arrested. He was placed in a sheriff vehicle and taken to Brewster County Jail.