not much of a problem in that part of the world. Buddy Cockrell did indeed search for another location for his feedlot, he says. The two factors that set him back were cost and convenience the feedlot is located just off Hwy. 152, which is a big plus for the constant parade of trucks hauling feed and cattle in and out of The place. Cockrell is a most disappointing villain: he is not only reasonable, in his fashion, but also charming. He’s a big, big man who played football for O.U. and later pro ball as an offensive tackle in the Canadian league, with the Cleveland Browns and the New York Jets. He’s been trading cattle since he was 16 and has long dreamed of setting up his own feedlot. Hes lived in that area of the Panhandle all his life his folks are ranchers there, but, as he points out, he’s never inherited anything. He bought his land \(ironically, sees it, he’s sunk a million dollars into this feedlot, he’s ‘working like a dog to make it go and all of a sudden he has all this grief because his neighbors can’t stand the smell of a little cow poop. After the Philpotts, the Harveys, the Hendersons and Ms. Airington wrote a letter of protest last year to both the bank that gave Cockrell the loan to start the feedlot and the Small Business Administration, which insured the loan, Cockrell called a meeting of his neighbors and told them in no uncertain terms they’d damn well better show up. He then proceeded to scare the living lights out of them, roaring at them, pacing up and down, assuring them that he had talked to a top-flight Houston lawyer who had told Cockrell he had a lead pipe cinch case against his neighbors for ruining his credit. Cockrell was going to sue all of them for the $611,000 loan he might not get. Ms. Airington, recently widowed and now working in a Pampa children’s clothing store to pay off the mortgage on her place, was terrified, according to her neighbors. Both she and the Tom Hendersons wrote and signed letters, dictated by Cockrell, to the-bank and the SBA saying they had had no intention of reflecting adversely on Cockrell’s credit. Cockrell had told them that if he didn’t have the letters by 7 a.m. the next morning, he’d sue them. IN ORDER TO build his feedlot, Cockrell had to get a permit from the Texas Water Quality Board, and a construction permit and an operating permit from the Texas Air Control Board. The Water Board, concerned solely with whether the feedlot runoff would harm a live stream, was satisfied with Cockrell’s playa lake system. The TACB was the last, best hope the neighbors. had for stopping the feedlot. The TACB has files on the Philpott feedlot case that take more than three hours to read. Many are the complications, kinks and subplots. For one thing, Cockrell was originally unaware that he needed a construction permit and was merrily constructing away without one for several months. According to Barden, this is not unusual. The TACB, notified by the neighbors of the imminent feedlot, in turn notified Cockrell that he had to apply for a permit, which he did, constructing all the while. At one point, the TACB went so far as to send the case over to the attorney general’s office: violation of the TACB’s regulations can get you anything from a $50 to a $1,000 a day fine. But Cockrell’s construction permit went through and no legal action was taken on the time lapse. There were a lot of missed connections between the TACB and the Cockrell neighbors. On one occasion, Virginia Harvey was notified that a regional inspector would be in the area on a certain day and wanted to talk to them all. He held a brief conference with the Harveys, went to visit the Cockrells and departed the area. The Philpotts, the Hendersons and Ms. Airington and Ms. Corbin stayed home all day, patiently waiting for the TACB man to call. On other occasions, TACB inspectors would stop by without advance warning and find no one home. THE NEIGHBORS continued writing letters of complaint to the federal Environmental Protection Agency, Sens. Bentsen and Tower, the TACB, their state senator, their state representative, the local paper and everyone else they could think of. They even wrote their congressman, Bob Price, although they felt it was a thoroughly futile effort. Bob Price, you see, is himself a rancher and a close friend of Buddy Cockrell’s. Cockrell is emphatically Republican. When he first went down to Austin to apply for TWQB and TACB permits, the appointments were set up by another close friend, then-State Rep. Tom Christian. Christian remained interested in the problems his friend was having with state agencies. In the TACB’s files is a letter from Barden to then-State Rep. Bill Finck, chairman of the appropriations committee under Speaker Rayford Price. Barden explained the board’s actions in the Cockrell case to Editorial and Business Offices: The Texas Observer, 600 W. 7th St., Austin, Texas 78701. Telephone 477-0746. EDITOR Kaye Northcott CO-EDITOR Molly Ivins ASSOCIATE EDITOR John Ferguson EDITOR AT LARGE Ronnie Dugger Contributing Editors: Winston Bode, Bill Brammer, Gary Cartwright, Sue Horn Estes, Joe Frantz, Larry Goodwyn, Bill Hamilton, Bill Helmer, Dave Hickey, Franklin Jones, Lyman Jones, Larry L. King, Georgia Earnest Klipple, Larry Lee, Al Melinger, Robert L. Montgomery, Willie Morris, Bill Porterfield, James Presley, Buck Ramsey, John Rogers, Mary Beth Rogers, Roger Shattuck, Edwin Shrake, Dan Strawn, John P. Sullivan, Tom Sutherland. We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of man as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. The editor has exclusive control over the editorial policies and contents of the Observer. None of the other people who are associated with the enterprise shares this responsibility with her. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them the editor does not necessarily imply that she agrees with them, because this is a journal of free voices. THE TEXAS OBSERVER The Texas Observer Publishing Co. 1973 Ronnie Dugger, Publisher A window to the South A journal of free voices Vol. LXV, No. 21 Nov. 2, 1973 Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Democrat, which in turn incorporated the Austin ForumAdvocate. BUSINESS STAFF Joe Espinosa Jr. C. R. Olofson The Observer is published by Texas Observer Publishing Co., biweekly from Austin, Texas. Entered as second-class matter April 26, 1937, at the Post Office at Austin, Texas, under the Act of March 3, 1879. Second class postage paid at Austin, Texas. Single copy, 50c. One year, $8.00; two years, $14.00; three years, $19.00; plus, for Texas addresses, 5% sales tax. Foreign, except APO/FPO, 50c additional per year. Airmail, bulk orders, and group rates on request. Microfilmed by Microfilming Corporation of America, 21 Harristown Road, Glen Rock, N.J. 07452. Change of Address: Please give old and new address, including zip codes, and allow two weeks. Postmaster: Send form 3579 to Texas Observer, 600 W. 7th St., Austin, Texas 78701.
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