Page 14


v 21 THE TEXAS OBSERVER CAUCUS AT STARS Schedule your confer, Call for rese t 727 West 234 Street in THORP SPRINGS PRESS Committed to the publishing and promotion of new authors Write for our current catalog: 3414 Robinson Avenue Austin 78722 Austin’s Authentic Arredondo Mexican Recipes JORGE’S 2204 Hancock, 454-1980 CASITA JORGE’S 2538 Elmont, 442-9091 JorgeChief Cook & Pearl Diver Life Insurance and Annuities Martin Elfant, CLU 600 Jefferson St., Houston, TX 77002 &Age CANA OF DA lilDerty lunch Austin’s only open-air dance floor is now open every day and night for live music and homestyle meals. Come enjoy our laid-back tropical garden atmosphere. -Fine wines & beers 405 West Second Street 477-0461 last into the 1990s, an extra five or ten years. The year 2000 will find us with over 18 million people and the need to import oil. Conceivably Texas can continue to produce surplus natural gas, but that will require drilling to depths below 15,000 feet, and a well 15,000 feet deep costs more than 12 times as much as a 7,000foot well. The economic situation that can encourage such drilling will be quite a while in coming, and it will be nothing to look forward to. Such prospects should cause some uneasy reflections, especially in. Houston, which uses more energy per capita than any other city in the world, as the city’s private utility, Houston Lighting & Power, proudly announces in its advertisements. Indeed, Houston already uses more energy than the entire New York City metropolitan area. Try to imagine surviving the summer in the Bayou City of 21 years from now without energygulping’ air-conditioning; it could be done, but not in the tightly sealed structures that have been built there since the ’30s. The exhaustion of locally available, cheap, abundant energy resources cannot fail to damage the city’s economy, and it cannot fail to disrupt the economy of energy-spendthrift Texas as a whole. The economic problem is compounded by the destruction of the state’s food and timber producing land. Texas has alfish and shrimp spawning wetlands to dredging and filling. The recent refusal of oil drillers and other development interests to accept even a scaled-down, compromise coastal zone management program bodes ill for the remaining wetlands, and for the $200 million-a-year fisheries industry they support. Similarly for agriculturethe ten years before 1968 saw the loss of half a million agricultural acres, and in the ensuing decade another two and a half million acres were lost to urbanization. At a land loss rate of 1 percent per year \(what most state and federal government experts are predicting privately, though they won’t count what diminishing water supplies will do to Panhandle acreage, by 1989 Texas agriculture will lose another 16.5 million acres. By the turn of the century the figure will total over 34 million more than 20 percent of our best agricultural lands. The process is already far advanced in some areas. Travis County, around Austin, is about to lose the last of its prime farmland. Montgomery County, around Conroe, once a leading timber-producing area, is now prime suburban real estate, and land in Fort Bend County, another part of the growing coastal megalopolis,