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Highlighting the geography and the’natural history are fascinating tales from the state’s colorful past. “Intelligent, readable, informed, informative … covers a tremendous lot of material with a grasp that indicates solid knowledge and research … such an overall and unchauvinistic treatment of physical and natural Texas has long been needed.” John Graves “A splendid tour … this is excellent armchair travel.” Publishers Weekly 64 pages of full-color photographs, 100 draw, ings, 8 maps, 8 3/4″ x 103/4″, oversize format. GARNER & SMITH BOOKSTORE 12116 Guadalupe lAustin, Texas 78705 Please send ‘ of TebeiWild at $30.00 per cop’ ‘ 10 remittance enclosed charge my account i Namr IAddress kity State Zip IPlease add appropriate salex tax & 75# postage per ciapy.l oxin problem, proposed special arrangements for shipping the substance to Texas. The company planned to fill five-gallon, widemouth polypropolene containers with the liquid waste, stack them two-high on the floor of a semitrailer, and cushion the containers with cornmeal. The loading was to be supervised by officials of the EPA and the Missouri Division of Health. The truck would travel a prearranged route with a police escort; technicians from the EPA and Syntex would follow along as monitors. When the truck reached Deer Park, it would be carefully unloaded and each container and its contents incinerated. Yantis: “no objections” Rollins began negotiations with Syntex, but the company said it would not take the job unless it got written permission from Hugh Yantis, then executive director of the Texas Water Quality Board. \(Yantis is the new chairman of the State Board of Insurance, appointed by Gov. Dolph Briscoe to replace Joe did their homework, allowing to stand for only six days a March 16 inter-office memo that described dioxin as a chemical with “a low toxicity to humans” that “is commonly used as a preservative in cosmetics, water base paints, and inks.” A TWQB memo of March 22, however, fully catalogs dioxin’s hazards; copies of dioxin stories from Time, Newsweek and Business Week were added to TWQB files. It all makes Yantis’ May 4 letter to Jerry Neal, the Rollins plant manager, difficult to understand. Yantis wrote: “This is to advise you that Mr. Godfrey J. Moll of Syntex Agribusiness, Inc. has conferred with myself and members of my staff regarding the disposal of approximately 4,600 gallons of chlorinated waste containing Dioxin. . . . Mr. Moll has briefed us regarding the history and problems surrounding the generation, storage, and disposal attempts of this waste. I have given my verbal approval for Syntex Agribusiness, Inc. to develop plans for the transportation, handling and monitoring of this waste to the Rollins Deer Park incinerator. Please understand that as a water pollution control and solid waste disposal agency, we are not charged with any jurisdiction concerning the operation of the incinerator. This would be a matter for the Texas Air Control Board, but as I understand their role from a conversation with one of their attorneys, that agency’s approval in advance is not required nor, insofar as I know, is the approval of any governmental agency required. “At this time I have no objections to Syntex Agribusiness pursuing contractual arrangements with Rollins for the incineration of this waste. The final approval for Rollins receipt of the Dioxin containing waste will be dependent upon the staff’s favorable review and recommendations of Syntex’s plans for shipment and handling.” Yantis didn’t exactly tell Neal to go right ahead, but he didn’t discourage the plans for disposal of the dioxin waste. And he sure didn’t sound too alarmed. Now he adamantly refuses to discuss the matter, telling the Observer that he is not interested in talking about any aspect of the “history” of the TWQB. The TWQB’s authority lies in the regulation only of the outfall and discharge from an incinerator like Rollins’. The incinerator itself operates with a permit from the Texas Air Control Board, although Rollins didn’t need TACB’s prior approval to accept the Syntex disposal contract. But the TWQB notified the TACB of what was in store. A meeting of representatives of Rollins and of the two regulatory agencies was held in Houston. TACB staff determined that it was impossible to achieve-complete incineration of the dioxinone ten-thousandth of one percent would be left unburned. They also determined that the residue would be an unsafe amount of dioxin to be released in the Harris County air. Rollins was persuaded to turn down the Syntex contract. So the system worked, right? Well, sort of. But there’s no guarantee that it will “work” the next time. It should be remembered that although Rollins and similar concerns usually notify the appropriate regulatory agencies when contemplating the disposal of out-of-state wastes, they do not have to. TWQB staff told the Observer that they probably would not have been notified by Rollins had the dioxin waste been generated instate. And what about the dioxin? It’s still in Missouri and Syntex is still trying to get rid of it. Syntex and state health officials in Jefferson City have approached the owners of the Vulcanus, the Dutch incinerator ship hired by the Pentagon to dispose of its Vietnam-era dioxin. But the volume of the Syntex waste might well be too small to interest the Vulcanus, and Syntex would still have to transport the poison from landlocked Missouri to a port somewhere. The cost of the whole operation would likely be prohibitive. Godfrey Moll, Syntex’s plant manager, told the Observer that he had two different disposal plans in the works, but that negotiations were progressing slowly. He said, “It looks like I’m gonna be stuck with this stuff for another winter.” Let’s hope it’s not an accident waiting to happenin Texas or anywhere else. Linda Rocawich is an assistant editor of the Observer. Anchor National Financial Services 1524 E. 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