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‘ -‘,.N..\\\\: \\\\”..\\ :”\\.\\:\\,.,\\ \\ N’\\ \\ \\ One man’s waste is another man’s business By Paul Sweeney Austin Most any Texan who watches the national television news or reads a daily newspaper has heard of Love Canal, the abandoned chemical dump in Niagara Falls, New York, that for 25 years has saturated its surroundings with toxic chemicals. We have read or heard of the chemical vapors from the site that pervade the atmosphere; of the wastes discharged into the Niagara River; of the chemicals seeping into basements of nearby homes; of the high incidence of miscarriages and birth defects in the vicinity; of the families evacuated; of the cleanup that is costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars because the company that ran the dump has contrived to evade financial responsibility for the mess. But many Texans acquainted with the Love Canal story may not realize that all the makings of a comparable disaster exist right here in Texas. So .far we’ve just been lucky. Far from being immune to such ills that have befallen the aging industrial areas of the Northeast, Texas is itself a center of exactly the kind of manufacturing activity that generates hazardous chemieal waste in bulk. Huge amounts of this toxic garbage have ended up at leaky disposal sites and illegal dumps across the state, and more than a little of it has already found its way into Texans’ air and water and even their back yards. Nineteen of the nation’s 20 largest chemical corporations have manufacturing operations in Texas. Chemical companies in the top 53 have a total of 159 plants in the state. More than half of the U.S. petrochemical industry’s manufacturing capacity is located along the upper Gulf Coast, from Freeport north to the Louisiana border. Also contributing enormous amounts of waste are the state’s rubber and tire manufacturing plants, utility power generating stations, copper and lead smelters, and petroleum refineries. In 1978 the chemical industry in Texas produced 3.9 million tons of industrial solid waste, about 10 percent of the national total and enough to place Texas sixth among the states in annual output of chemical garbage. Texas has more dump sites-319—than any other state. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is required to identify which of these sites are dangerous. So far, 14