J. Frank Dobie SOME PART OF MYSELF F 1. hank Dobre The Longhorns Some Part of Myself The memoirs of J. Frank Dobie, tireless prospector of the history and lore of Texas and the Southwest, reveal the admirable human spirit of a man who has become as much a legend as those about whom he wrote. 296 pp., illustrated, $6.95, paper The Longhorns Ghost steers, titantic bullfights on the range, terrifying stampedesall part of the story of the Texas Longhorn, told by Dobie with characteristic respect for the place of legend and folklore in history. 405 pp., illustrated, $7.95. paper Coronado’s Children Tales of Lost Mines and Buried Treasures of the Southwest Here are legends of lost mines on the San Saba and Llano Rivers, rumors of an untapped vein of gold in Devil’s River country, tales of forgotten posthole stashes of gold and silver coins, and more. 351 pp., illustrated, $4.95, paper: $9.95, cloth Coronado’s Children 1.11,111 1.,4 and ot the Sott11…1 J. Frank t h>lie I tur.ord l’s I rant. I I.W.J4m Ilhaq rm….. lusrles Shaw W. R. Metzger, director of the Nueces County health department, says, “Most of us who are physicians have been preempted by other agencies. They don’t quite tell us to stay the hell out of it, but that’s the message.” Adds Metzger: “You’re talking about some of the richest agricultural land on earth, with the greatest capacity to produce crops. being used for storing dangerous wastes. It’s not a rosy picture.” Officials at the state department of health, moreover, have said they were never informed that any environmental health problems had been alleged in the region. A spokesman for the agency said investigators involved in solid waste disposal have checked the site for radiation, nothing more. After eight years, the department of water resources plans a hearing sometime this spring to consider a tougher permit for TECO. Harvey Davis, executive director of the agency, has declined to turn the case over to the attorney general’s office for investigation and legal action, despite being requested to do so by Corpus Christi state Rep. Arnold Gonzales. Under state law, the attorney general’s office is unable to take an alleged polluter to court until it receives a request from the agency’s head. Agency attorney McManus says the water resource department’s aim is to bring the site into compliance with current procedures. In other words, because the agency believes that the problems at the site are essentially minor, legal action is out of the question. The federal EPA, however, is currently conducting a nationwide survey of hazardous waste sites, and TECO is one of 26 sites in Texas under investigation. Roger Meacham, a spokesman for the agency’s Dallas regional office, says, “Hazardous waste sites are the agency’s number one priority. We won’t check off until these sites are either cleaned up or shut down.” Under pressure from local residents, county commissioners Joaquin Villarreal and Luby are looking into hiring independent experts to study the site and attorney Thompson says flatly: “Our goal is to shut down the facility and get them to clean up.” In the end, the tragedy is probably that the people trusted their government and industry. A curious sidelight to the Robstown tale is that it was almost repeated in Midlothian, a farming community 400 miles to the north, where TECO also built a dumpsite in 1972 to dispose of industrial wastes generated in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. As in Robstown, TECO received its Midlothian permit after public hearings. Local farmers there, however, initiated a lawsuit and were joined in their condemnation of the pending operation by the local Chamber of Commerce, bankS, the city council and Ellis County commissioners court. The waste disposal firm attempted a public relations gambit of donating $1,000 toward a charity drive to raise $20,000 to purchase a fire truck for the town’s volunteer fire department. The firm never gained a foothold in Midlothian. As it turned out, the lawsuits and the public outcry weren’t the reason. Explained Mrs. Sunny Alderdice, editor of the weekly Midlothian Mirror: “Commissioners court refused to fix up the bridges and the roads to accommodate the company’s trucks. It’s just a winding country lane out to that site. That’s what finally strangled them out of here. I don’t think they ever would have given up if they could have figured a way to get their trucks out there.” DOBIE CLASSICS University of Texas Press POST OFFICE BOX 7819 AUSTIN, TEXAS 78712 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 19
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