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.<:*,.:,!,s . Below, a flatbed truck passes in front of the proposed site for NSSI waste at the old Dyer school. To the right, citizens gather in Centerville for one of three major community protests this year against nuclear waste. Both Leon County and neighboring Madison County were represented. 0 p C"The health department is not actively looking for a new site," Bailey added. "A new site is needed, but not necessarily a new site in Texas." If at First You Don't Succeed Gallagher began searching for a new site at once, and by early April, the hunt led north from Houston to Leon County. In mid-April, plans had progressed far enough for NSSI to summon a select group of local officials to a dog and pony show at the Red Onion Cafe, which seems to be the only place in town to meet. State health officials were also on hand, and gave NSSI a recommendation for having an excellent safety record. Not until a report on the meeting was carried in the Leon County News on April 17 the report May Whitworth read did the people of the community realize what was in the works. In addition to the highly favorable news article concerning the site, readers were regaled with a four page slick brochure inserted in the paper April 24 as an advertisement by NSSI Recovery, Inc., the subsidiary 6 NOVEMBER 14, 1980 that would handle Leon County operations. The brochure said the facility "will be a shot in the arm for Leon County's economy without any unpleasant aftereffects. Will . . . Operations be safe? The answer to this question is a resounding 'Yes.' " But just as the project had run into trouble with the citizenry of Gulf Palms, so it did in Leon County. Not only did the steering committee set up by Mary. Whitworth and her neighbors meet with health officials and amass data, they organized protests. The first was held April 27 on the courthouse lawn at nearby Centerville, the county seat. The resisters had by then named themselves "Citizens for hired an Austin law firm to try to block the NSSI licensing application. The first Centerville rally attracted 1,200 persons and raised $12,000. "Hundred dollar bills were dropping like flies. It was great," one attendee recalled. That wasn't the end of the rallies. A meeting was held in May, inside the courthouse, and attracted some local politicians who sensed an issue of broad popular support. Also in attendance was humorist John Henry Faulk of Madison County, who said, "They [NSSI] figured they would slip in and get it done, but they were wrong. Whatever they say, the only reason they want it is to make money. But it don't make no sense no matter which way you slice that rotten apple." John Henry wasn't the only Madison County visitor. An anti-nuclear waste coalition, Citizens for Safe Energy both groups are fighting NSSI in court with the help of Austin attorney Stuart N. Henry. The point of the legal challenge so far is NSSI's request to transfer a sewer discharge permit from the Dyer school to NSSI. CFSD and CFSE say NSSI ought to have to obtain a completely new license, considering the difference between ordinary sewage and nuclear waste. On the other hand, the differences emphasize the similarities: wastes are wastes; they must be contained, stored, cared for, and isolated from the environment from which they have been extracted. While the Dyer school was in operation, for example, it produced a certain amount of its own waste. That waste was treated and discharged as sewage, and the sewage seeped down the hill on which the school is located to the farm of Oliver Smith. A few years ago Smith had 30 hogs penned up below the drainage area. "A chemical or something came out of that pipe and my hogs got sick. Four died," he recalls. He didn't file a complaint, but now the memory of how the contamination occurred makes him wary about storing something that could destroy more than hogs. In October, under concerted attack and the possibility of a public hearing,